Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2022, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (2): 2012088.

Special Issue: Graphene: Functions and Applications

• ARTICLE •

### Reduced Graphene Oxide Modified Few-Layer Exfoliated Graphite to Enhance the Stability of the Negative Electrode of a Graphite-Based Potassium Ion Battery

Jian Wang1,2, Bo Yin2, Tian Gao2, Xingyi Wang2, Wang Li2, Xingxing Hong2, Zhuqing Wang1,*(), Haiyong He2,*()

1. 1 College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Anqing Normal University, Anqing 246002, Anhui Province, China
2 Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of New Energy Technology, Ningbo 315201, Zhejiang Province, China
• Received:2020-12-31 Accepted:2021-01-26 Published:2021-02-01
• Contact: Zhuqing Wang,Haiyong He E-mail:wangzhq@aqnu.edu.cn;hehaiyong@nimte.ac.cn
• About author:Email: hehaiyong@nimte.ac.cn (H.H.)
Email: wangzhq@aqnu.edu.cn (Z.W.)
• Supported by:
the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51872304);Ningbo S & T Innovation 2025 Major Special Program(2018B10024)

Abstract:

The intercalation of potassium in graphite provides high energy density owing to the low potential of 0.24 V vs. K/K+, thereby making it a promising anode material for potassium ion batteries. However, the high volume expansion (60%) of graphite after potassium intercalation induces significant stress and electrode pulverization. Additionally, the sluggish kinetics of potassium insertion undermine the rate capability of electrodes. Using few-layer exfoliated graphite (EG) as a negative electrode material effectively relieves expansion-induced stress. Unfortunately, the close stacking of ultra-thin two-dimensional EG impedes ion transport. Furthermore, EG with smooth surfaces lacks active sites to adsorb K+, which is unfavorable for intercalation reactions. To address these problems, in this study, we designed an rGO/EG/rGO sandwich that coats EG with reduced graphene oxide (rGO). This complex material has two main advantages: (1) its 3D network can effectively prevent EG from stacking and buffer the volumetric variation of EG to improve the cyclic stability of the electrode, and (2) the loose structure and rich functional groups of rGO can also enhance the kinetic of potassium intercalation. Through hydrothermal reduction, GO was coated onto the EG surface and cross-linked to form a 3D network, by which EG stacking could be effectively mitigated. The rGO : EG ratio was precisely controlled by modulating the amount of reactant GO and EG. Transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy images showed that the rGO was uniformly coated on the EG surface to form a sandwich structure. X-ray diffraction patterns and Raman spectra demonstrated that rGO was physically adsorbed on the EG surface without notable chemical interactions. The EG structure was retained to ensure that its characteristic electrochemical properties were unaffected. Cyclic voltammetry and galvanostatic cycling tests were performed on the complex material with various rGO : EG ratios, exhibiting that rGO : EG = 1 : 1 (w/w) was optimal with a specific capacity of 443 mAh·g-1 at 50 mA·g-1. Even when operated at a high current density of 800 mA·g-1, a specific capacity of 190 mAh·g-1 was achieved, retaining 42.9% of the low-rate capacity, far exceeding those of pristine EG (14.2%) and rGO (27.2%). These results demonstrate that the rGO coating indeed enhanced the kinetics of potassium intercalation and efficiently improved the capacity and rate capability compared to pristine EG. We hope this work sheds light on novel approaches to improving potassium intercalation mechanisms in graphite.

MSC2000:

• O646