Lignin-based carbon fibers for renewable and multifunctional lithium-ion battery electrodes
Lignin-based carbon fibers (LCFs) from the renewable resource softwood kraft lignin were synthesized via oxidative thermostabilization of pure melt-spun lignin and carbonization at different temperatures from 1000°C to 1700°C. The resulting LCFs were characterized by tensile testing, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and confocal Raman spectroscopy. The microstructure is mainly amorphous carbon with some nanocrystalline domains. The strength and stiffness are inversely proportional to the carbonization temperature, while the LCFs carbonized at 1000°C exhibit a strength of 628 MPa and a stiffness of 37 GPa. Furthermore, the application potential of LCFs was evaluated as negative electrodes in a lithium-ion battery (LIB) by electrochemical cycling at different current rates in a half-cell setup. The capacity drops with the carbonization temperature and the LCFs carbonized at 1000°C have a capacity of 335 mAh g−1. All LCFs showed good cycling stability. Because of the mechanical integrity and conductivity of the LCFs, there is no need to apply current collectors, conductive additives or binders. The advantage is an increased gravimetric energy density compared to graphite, which is the most common negative electrode material. LCFs show a promising multifunctional behavior, including good mechanical integrity, conductivity and an ability to intercalate lithium for LIBs.
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