Performance Enhancement and Side Reactions in Rechargeable Nickel-Iron Batteries with Nanostructured Electrodes

Danni Lei, Dong Chan Lee, Alexandre Magasinski, Enbo Zhao, Daniel Artemus Steingart, Gleb Yushin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


We report for the first time a solution-based synthesis of strongly coupled nanoFe/multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) and nanoNiO/MWCNT nanocomposite materials for use as anodes and cathodes in rechargeable alkaline Ni-Fe batteries. The produced aqueous batteries demonstrate very high discharge capacities (800 mAh gFe-1 at 200 mA g-1 current density), which exceed that of commercial Ni-Fe cells by nearly 1 order of magnitude at comparable current densities. These cells also showed the lack of any "activation", typical in commercial batteries, where low initial capacity slowly increases during the initial 20-50 cycles. The use of a highly conductive MWCNT network allows for high-capacity utilization because of rapid and efficient electron transport to active metal nanoparticles in oxidized [such as Fe(OH)2 or Fe3O4] states. The flexible nature of MWCNTs accommodates significant volume changes taking place during phase transformation accompanying reduction-oxidation reactions in metal electrodes. At the same time, we report and discuss that high surface areas of active nanoparticles lead to multiple side reactions. Dissolution of Fe anodes leads to reprecipitation of significantly larger anode particles. Dissolution of Ni cathodes leads to precipitation of Ni metal on the anode, thus blocking transport of OH- anions. The electrolyte molarity and composition have a significant impact on the capacity utilization and cycling stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2088-2096
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 27 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


  • alkaline
  • aqueous
  • batteries
  • carbon nanotube
  • iron
  • nanocomposite
  • nickel


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