GradImpact: Improving Battery Performance while Maintaining Safety and Stability

    How long does it take to charge your cell phone? Priyanka Ketkar, a doctoral student in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Delaware, is working to create a battery that takes minutes to fully charge. Ketkar, as part of the Epps Research Group, intends to produce flexible, safer, faster-charging batteries. The challenge so far has been that improving the battery performance has led to safety and stability issues.


    The Epps team has patented an idea to improve battery performance by “introducing tapers into the polymer membrane electrolytes that allow the lithium ions inside the battery to travel back and forth faster.” By using block polymers (two or more polymer chains that differ in properties), the team can create polymers that maintain the advantageous features of each material. “Previous methods for increasing conductivity have either made the polymer harder to process or used greater amounts of chemical solvent, which makes the material more flammable and less environmentally friendly,” Ketkar said. “That is why I am really excited about this new approach.”


    Ketkar hopes to make a difference in the world through her research and expects to finish her PhD in 2021. She will be presenting her work at the 2019 American Physical Society Meeting in Boston this March. To learn more about Priyanka’s work visit the University of Delaware website.


    Visit the GradImpact Feature Gallery to learn more about the amazing, innovative research being done by graduate students and alumni across the world.



    Photo Credit: Kathy F. Atkinson, University of Delaware



    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.


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