Alternative energies are still some way from being competitive with fossil fuels, and this is often attributed to a lack of suitable battery technology. One solution to deal with this problem is to develop innovative rechargeable batteries that are made of vanadium. Such batteries will enable continuous recharging cycles without any significant wear. However, this unique metal has to be processed appropriately. To deal with this issue, the FRITSCH Planetary Ball Mills and FRITSCH Cutting Mills play a key role in research and development activities. These tools aid in making an intricate comminution of tough-metallic materials, such as vanadium.
Vanadium: A Transition Metal
Vanadium is a transition metal first discovered in the 18th century, although it was not used until around a century later.
In addition to, chrome, cobalt, nickel, tungsten and other metals, fine vanadium is utilized in a balanced combination for alloying.
The properties of vanadium have even been exploited by the natural world. For instance, plant cells need vanadium for photosynthesis, and biochemical processes within animal cells utilize this metal for their metabolic cycle.
Constant charging and discharging cycles tend to wear down ordinary rechargeable batteries, and hence their capacity constantly shrink with use. A new type of vanadium-redox flow batteries uses two electrolyte tanks, and can offset any process interactions.
However, the requirement for space when using a vanadium electrolyte is considerably higher. This can directly impact an enhanced reactivation. The specific surface area tends to become larger with increasing fineness of vanadium powder, allowing more compact packing. The Planetary Mills premium line from Fritsch allows the comminution down to the nano range, and hence is important in this latest battery technology.
Figure 1. Schematic showing the principle of a vanadium battery
Extraordinary Transition Metal
Vanadium exhibits remarkable characteristics because of its position in the periodic table of elements. Vanadium is non-magnetic, strong and forgeable, electrically conductive, reacts with non-metals, and is easily flammable as a powder.
Fine sheeted material or even cuts from other phases of production can be comminuted with cutting mills to convert them into coarse grained material or powder. The foils were sufficiently thin to be cut with the Universal-Cutting Mill PULVERISETTE 19. A sieve with a 2 mm trapezoidal perforation and cutting instruments constructed of hardmetal tungsten carbide were used. The Cutting Mill PULVERISETTE 19 has a high rotational speed and therefore a high fine fraction was achieved.
Figure 2. Sheeted vanadium for sample preparation
Using the Power-Cutting Mill 25, exceptional results were obtained for the comminution of non-metals. For the pre-comminution, if the base material is more than 2 mm, both strong and coarse comminution can be obtained. When a narrow particle size distribution is above 2 mm, a final fineness between 2 and 10 mm comminution can be obtained.
With the Universal-Cutting Mill PULVERISETTE 19, extra fine comminution to a finer powder is possible. Exceptional results are available for the fine comminution of aluminium-alloys from the development of car engines. But extra care has to be taken, since fine metal powders have a tendency to self-ignite. In the present case with the selected fineness, a correct powder is prepared.
Figure 3. Comminution of Vanadium with the PULVERISETTE 19 and 2 mm sieve
Reliable and sustainable research is required so as to expedite and improve the setback of energy trend. The same standard applies for biochemistry, material research and other areas where vanadium is normally used. With the help of FRITSCH Laboratory Mills, it is possible to do all kinds of sample preparation on a laboratory scale without any major difficulties. The cutting mills are built on different comminution technologies and hence prove suitable for developing future-oriented technologies.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by FRITSCH GMBH - Milling and Sizing.
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