Binder effect on electrochemical performance of zinc electrodes for nickel-zinc batteries
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Polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) were used as a zinc electrode binder at different concentrations to enhance the electrochemical behavior of zinc electrodes for nickel-zinc (NiZn) batteries. ZnO powders synthesized by mechanochemical and hydrothermal precipitation methods were mixed with lead oxide, calcium hydroxide and binder to prepare zinc electrodes in pouch cell NiZn batteries. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis reveal that initial morphology of zinc electrode changes drastically regardless of the binder type and its loading after charge/discharge process, and even the charge/discharge process is not complete. The results show that the presence of PEG causes better discharge capacity compared to that of PVA as a binder. Zinc electrode prepared using commercial ZnO powder and 3 wt.% PEG gives the optimum discharge capability, with a specific capacity of approximately 311 mAhg-1, while zinc electrodes prepared using ZnO powder synthesized from ZnCl2 and Zn(NO3)2.6H2O and 6 wt.% PEG exhibit high specific energy of 255 and 275 mAhg-1, respectively. The results suggest a relationship between binder loading and battery capacity, but in-situ analysis of microstructural evolution of zinc electrode during charge/discharge process is needed to confirm this relationship.