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Environmentally friendly Pb-free ceramics for energy storage

Project Description


Develop an energy storage prototype with a recoverable energy density greater than 15 J/cm3 based in BNT/BKT/BT ceramics. BNT-based ceramics exhibit a ferroelectric-to-relaxor (FE-RE) phase transition at ~100C. Doping may be used to shift the FE-RE to lower temperatures thereby leading to a relaxor state at room temperature exhibiting enhanced energy storage. This combined with microstructural engineering may be employed to produce ceramics with greater BDS and high polarisation, thereby with enhanced energy storage characteristics.

Methodology and Innovations

(I) Computer modelling
First, an innovative approach based on computer modelling using first principle calculations will be carried out as a screening approach to identify the most efficient dopants and their impact on crystal-chemistry. The CASTEP code will employed for this purpose. Using density functional theory, a wide range of properties can be simulated including structure at the atomic level, vibrational properties, electronic response properties and band structures.

(II) Materials preparation
Subsequently, the most promising candidates will be prepared by the standard solid-state reaction route. Firing under different atmospheres will be carried out. Crystal structure and purity will be characterised by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy. The latter will be employed to characterise the sub-grain microstructure. AC impedance will be employed to characterise the electrical microstructure. Polarisation will be measured under increasing electrical fields up to 200C. Beamtime applications will be submitted to Diamond, in order to carry out diffraction experiments under applied electric field. Spark plasma sintering will be employed in selected compositions to evaluate its impact on the energy storage performance.

(III) Device prototyping
Multilayer devices will be fabricated by tape casting using selected compositions. Different electrodes materials will be tested. Throughout the research programme, the student will work closely with the industrial partners, to design devices, in order to improve their energy storage performance. Electrical fatigue measurements will be carried at different temperatures. Leakage current will me measured also at different temperatures. The most promising composition will be used to fabricate thin film device by spin coating.

Funding Notes

DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

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