As industries around the world work to create more powerful lithium-ion batteries, graphite powder plays an increasingly important role. Both natural flake and synthetic graphite have a wide range of properties that make them useful for different applications.
Graphite powder is the most common form of graphite and is available in many different granulations. The morphology of the particles determines their behavior under consolidation, which can impact anode performance.
Artificial graphite is produced by heat treatment of a variety of materials, including petroleum coke, coal-tar pitch, oil, or other carbonaceous fuels. These materials can be calcined at temperatures approaching 3000degC to produce artificial graphite.
Industrial synthetic graphite is produced as a by-product of electrodes used in heavy industry and manufacturing. Synthetic graphite is similar to natural graphite in that it offers high purity, excellent lubricity, and electrical conductivity.
Commercial synthetic graphite is typically manufactured by a single supplier. It is a more closely matched sample than commercial natural graphite, which can be helpful for manufacturers who switch between the two to avoid mixing, agglomeration, and coating defects.
Manufacturers can characterize the morphology of their graphite powder and optimize their processing and material handling by measuring particle shear values, which are sensitive to subtle differences in morphology. Using the TA Instruments Powder Rheology Accessory with the Discovery HR 30 rheometer, this information can be easily measured. By incorporating shear testing with other rheology measurements, such as viscosity, viscoelasticity, yield stress, and thixotropy, battery manufacturers can ensure their slurries will meet their requirements for optimum anode performance.
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