Exploring Chemical, Mechanical, and Electrical Functionalities of Binders for Advanced Energy-Storage Devices
Tremendous efforts have been devoted to the development of electrode materials, electrolytes, and separators of energy-storage devices to address the fundamental needs of emerging technologies such as electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. However, binders, as an important component of energy-storage devices, are yet to receive similar attention. Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) has been the dominant binder in the battery industry for decades despite several well-recognized drawbacks, i.e., limited binding strength due to the lack of chemical bonds with electroactive materials, insufficient mechanical properties, and low electronic and lithium-ion conductivities. The limited binding function cannot meet inherent demands of emerging electrode materials with high capacities such as silicon anodes and sulfur cathodes. To address these concerns, in this review we divide the binding between active materials and binders into two major mechanisms: mechanical interlocking and interfacial binding forces. We review existing and emerging binders, binding technology used in energy-storage devices (including lithium-ion batteries, lithium-sulfur batteries, sodium-ion batteries, and supercapacitors), and state-of-the-art mechanical characterization and computational methods for binder research. Finally, we propose prospective next-generation binders for energy-storage devices from the molecular level to the macro level. Functional binders will play crucial roles in future high-performance energy-storage devices.