Summer 2011 Intern Project- Mark Bigham

REDUCING THE PRODUCTION COST OF 6-10nm BARIUM TITANATE FOR USE IN BATTERY SAFETY DEVICES


Mark Bigham

Mechanical Engineering
UC Santa Barbara

Mentor: Teyeb Ould Ely
Faculty Advisor: Dan Morse
Department: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Creating a cost effective method of producing Barium Titanate is a keystone technology to producing safer electric batteries.  Current lithium-ion batteries are prone to explosive failure in a condition known as thermal run-away.  This is caused when the heat of the electricity generating reaction causes the reaction rate to increase uncontrollably, and the resulting heat destroys the battery.  Barium Titanate could be integrated into the battery design to prevent thermal run-away.  This is because the electrical resistance of Barium Titanate can greatly increase with temperature, and thus act as a break in the thermal run-away cycle. However, first we must develop a cost effective method of producing Barium Titanate with the desired properties.  In order to do this we are trying to locally produce the Barium precursor material.   Two main methods are being used to attempt to make the precursor, one using metallic alkoxides, and the other using Titanium alkoxide and a Barium salt.  So far we have been able to create pure Barium Titanate from the alkoxides. Going forward we plan to focus on finding cheaper sources of the Barium alkoxide.

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