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A team led by Professor Mainak Majumder at Monash University in Sydney has succeeded in significantly increasing the mechanical stability of the cathodes in lithium-sulfur batteries, reports scientific journal ‘Science Advances’ . Until now, the use of these batteries has suffered from the problem that the cathode expands and contracts significantly when lithium is absorbed, leading to fractures. The scientists have now succeeded in embedding the sulfur in a layer of carboxymethyl cellulose, which serves as a binder, and carbon. This enables the cathode to compensate for higher mechanical loads.

Lithium-sulfur batteries have several advantages over lithium-ion batteries: They are considerably lighter with the same performance and the basic material sulfur is cheap and available worldwide. So far, however, they can only be recharged around 200 times, which means that they are not currently suitable for use in electric vehicles. Australian scientists see potential for the modified lithium-sulfur batteries in new, electrically powered aircraft, for example.