Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Summer Placement: Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Sheffield

Jordan Rickard has been working with the department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University  on a research project about new processing techniques to improve the performance of high efficiency NiFe batteries. He tells us what he's been up to:

So far I have been using a new processing technique to manufacture iron electrodes for use in Nickle-Iron batteries. I start the day by preparing the chemicals needed to coat the iron electrode, then using a press that operates at 120°c and 10 tonnes of pressure I fix the mixture to some nickel plates. These can then be placed in a solution with another electrode and connected to a machine that charges and discharges the newly created battery.

I repeat this process for different formulations of chemicals and the data is recorded. The best part of the placement is the freedom I have to try my own ideas. For example, after reading some research papers and learning how to process electrodes under the new manufacturing technique, I was given the responsibility to design, manufacture and test my own electrodes! It has also been very exciting to see the results of the tests as these are completely novel electrode compositions. If all goes well, the results obtained will be reproducible and form the basis of a publishable research paper.

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