Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies

Battery power

Mon Dec 12 15:36:00 GMT 2011

Lead oxide car battery Despite being invented over 150 years ago, the lead acid battery continues to power the road transport industry. Now, a team of nine researchers from the University of Bath, University of Oxford, and Trinity College Dublin have explained why.

Lead dioxide, the key electrode material in these batteries, is one of the most conductive metal oxides known.

Through a combination of computational chemistry and neutron diffraction, the team has demonstrated that the material becomes electron rich due to the loss of oxygen from the lattice, giving rise to a metal-insulator transition.

These insights may open new avenues for the selection of materials for modern battery technologies.

Dr. Aron Walsh from the CSCT said "The work demonstrates the power of combining predictive materials modelling with state-of-the-art experimental measurements".

The results have been published this week in Physical Review Letters.