lightweight carbon foam

Lightweight Carbon Foam to replace Lead Batteries

The lightweight carbon foam has a density of less than 0.3g/cc, high porosity of over 85%, good mechanical strength.

Lightweight Carbon Foam to replace Lead Batteries

GS Paper III: Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Context: Researcher from CSIRAdvanced Materials and Processes Research Institute, Bhopal, is developing porous carbon materials which have the potential to replace lead grid in lead-acid batteries.

lightweight carbon foam
(a) Optical image, (b-c) SEM image of carbon foam showing open cell structure, (d) Compressive strength, (e) Cyclic voltammetry, (f) Specific capacitance and (g) EMI shielding performance of carbon foam.

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What you need to know about lightweight carbon foam?

  • The lightweight carbon foam has a density of less than 0.3g/cc, high porosity of over 85%, good mechanical strength.
  • The foam is highly resistive to corrosion, has good electrical and thermal conductivity with high surface area.
  • It foam has potential applications in various field due to which it has attracted a lots of attention.
  • The carbon foam developed under the INSPIRE fellowship will also be cost-effective for the removal of arsenic, oil and other metals from contaminated water.
  • These carbon foams are non-toxic, easy to fabricate, affordable, and insoluble in water.
  • The raw material for the fabrication of carbon foam is easily available everywhere.
  • There is no requirement of any costly equipment for the fabrication of carbon foam and filtration.
  • Such materials can be safely used in remote areas where power supply is scarce.
  • It can also be useful for heat sinks in power electronics, electromagnetic interference shielding in aerospace, hydrogen storage and electrode for lead-acid batteries and water purification systems.

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What was the need for these lightweight carbon foams?

  • The present grid-scale energy-storage sector is dominated by lithium-ion batteries, because of their higher energy density & specific power and long cycle life.
  • However, there are some serious concerns regarding Li-ion batteries, such as safety risk, limited resource supply, high cost, and lack of recycling infrastructure.
  • This necessitates the development of an alternative battery system with lower environmental concerns, economic and higher energy density.
  • As a result, lead-acid batteries are still one of the most reliable, economical, and environmentally friendly options.
  • However, electrodes in the lead-acid batteries suffer from the problem of heavyweight, corrosion, poor thermal stability, and diffusion of electrolytes in one dimension, which ultimately affects the output power.
  • Keeping above points in mind, Dr. Rajeev Kumar, a recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty award instituted by the Department of Science &Technology, Govt. of India, have developed this lightweight carbon foam.


PRELIMS Background Bites

What you need to know about INSPIRE?

  • “Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE)” is an innovative programme sponsored and managed by the Department of Science & Technology for attraction of talent to Science.
  • The basic objective of INSPIRE is to communicate to the youth of the country the excitements of creative pursuit of science, attract talent to the study of science at an early age.
    • It thus aims to build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the Science & Technology system and R & D base.
  • A striking feature of the programme is that it does not believe in conducting competitive exams for identification of talent at any level.
    • It believes in and relies on the efficacy of the existing educational structure for identification of talent.
  • INSPIRE has three components:
    • Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS)
    • Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE)
    • Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC)

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