Dual-functional gum arabic binder for silicon anodes in lithium ion batteries
Si has attracted enormous research and manufacturing attention as an anode material for lithium ion batteries (LIBs) because of its high specific capacity. The lack of a low cost and effective mechanism to prevent the pulverization of Si electrodes during the lithiation/delithiation process has been a major barrier in the mass production of Si anodes. Naturally abundant gum arabic (GA), composed of polysaccharides and glycoproteins, is applied as a dual-function binder to address this dilemma. Firstly, the hydroxyl groups of the polysaccharide in GA are crucial in ensuring strong binding to Si. Secondly, similar to the function of fiber in fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC), the long chain glycoproteins provide further mechanical tolerance to dramatic volume expansion by Si nanoparticles. The resultant Si anodes present an outstanding capacity of ca. 2000 mAh/g at a 1 C rate and 1000 mAh/g at 2 C rate, respectively, throughout 500 cycles. Excellent long-term stability is demonstrated by the maintenance of 1000 mAh/g specific capacity at 1 C rate for over 1000 cycles. This low cost, naturally abundant and environmentally benign polymer is a promising binder for LIBs in the future.