A team of researchers recently discovered a mineral with an unusual crystal structure that can be used to make a new type of cathode for sodium-ion batteries..
While studying the cinder cones near the Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka, scientists from St. Petersburg University discovered a mineral called petrovite, which consists of blue spherical crystals with gas inclusions. In addition to its attractive appearance, it has an extremely rare crystal structure with 7 oxygen atoms.
Petrovit consists of oxygen, sodium, sulfur and copper, which form a porous framework (chemical formula Na10CaCu2 (SO4) 8). Studies have shown that the mineral has many voids, connected by channels through which they can move sodium atoms.
This feature makes it a promising material in terms of ionic conductivity, which can be used to manufacture a new type of cathodes for sodium-ion batteries..
However, this will require an increase in the copper content in its structure..
Recall that recently Russian scientists have also found a way to increase the strength of the material for aircraft construction by 1.5 times.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: St. Petersburg State University