Published March 17, 2016
C. Zhou (ISE), G. Wu (CBE)
Energy storage is the key component for creating sustainable energy systems. However, the ever increasing energy demand requires the development of next-generation, high-power energy storage systems. To provide peak power, conventional charge devices such as batteries currently are bulky and heavy. As a result, they are not suitable for next generation portable electronic devices, which require light weight, small thickness and good flexibility.
As a rapidly emerging technology, supercapacitors are capable of storing and discharging energy very quickly and effectively. Thus, they have attracted enormous interest and are considered to be one of the most promising energy storage devices to satisfy future energy storage needs. As an emerging 2-dimensional nanomaterial, graphene possesses unique electrical, thermal and mechanical properties, making it one of the most promising materials for fabricating supercapacitors.
However, traditional graphene based supercapacitors can only be printed in 2-dimenional form, which severely limits its application. In order to unlock graphene's exotic properties, this project investigates a new 3D printing technology to fabricate a graphene supercapacitor based on ice crystallization. The rheological properties and crystallization behavior is being studied to understand the relation between the printing performance and physical parameters. In order to further improve the supercapacitor performance (energy and power density, cycle time), high-surface-area nitrogen-doped 3D graphene has been included in the project.