Materials scientists receive grant to develop 3D-printed lithium-ion batteries

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Materials scientists from the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, led by Bruce Dunn, UCLA’s Nippon Sheet Glass Company Chair, and Morris Wang, along with colleagues from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, were selected to receive a $900,000 grant from the US Department of Energy. to demonstrate a new design and 3D printing process for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries.

Dunn is professor of materials science and engineering and, since August 1, acting dean of the engineering school. He will be the principal investigator of the project, which is part of a $57.9 million program to fund research on clean energy technologies. Wang, who is also a professor of materials science and engineering, is the co-lead researcher.

The team’s end goal is to improve lithium-ion batteries by increasing the power available, making them faster to charge, and making them cheaper to manufacture while wasting less material in the process. 3D printing enables the creation of a more complex interior battery structure that can store more energy – a development essential to the new manufacturing process.

Lithium-ion batteries, with their excellent energy-to-weight ratios, are already ubiquitous in phones, laptops, electric vehicles and a range of other consumer products. However, there are limits to how much power they can deliver and how fast they can be charged.

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