When individual silicon wafers are cut from larger sheets of silicon for use in electronics, a lot of sawdust is produced. Ordinarily, that material is simply discarded. Thanks to research currently being conducted by Japan’s Tohoku University and Osaka University, however, it may soon find its way into high-performing lithium-ion batteries.
The scientists started with regular silicon sawdust, washed it to remove impurities (such as coolant) that were introduced in the sawing process, then pulverized it into porous and wrinkly “nanoflakes” measuring about 15 nanometers thick. Those flakes were subsequently coated in carbon, then incorporated into battery anodes.
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