The growing demand of advanced electrochemical energy storage devices for various applications, including portable electronic products, electric vehicles, and large-scale energy storage grids, has triggered extensive research interests and efforts on various rechargeable batteries such as lithium/sodium-ion batteries (LIBs/NIBs), aluminium-ion batteries (AIBs), liquid metal batteries (LMBs), and molten-air batteries (MABs) in the past decades. A key issue to push forward the development of these batteries is the exploration of high-performance electrodes and electrolytes, which calls for efficient and versatile synthetic methods. Molten salts (MSs), liquid-phase ionic compounds or mixtures, provide an effective platform to widen the reaction temperatures and enrich the chemical environments for the synthesis of novel electrode materials and electrolytes. In this review, the general principles of molten salts and recent research progresses on molten salt-based battery materials are surveyed. Molten-salt synthesis of electrode materials, including sintering and electrolysis, are emerging as competitive substitutes for conventional synthesis techniques. These methods have shown their effectiveness and uniqueness in adjusting the crystal structure, morphology, and performance of electrode materials for LIBs/NIBs, as suggested by recent progresses and applications of diverse cathodes (layered oxides, spinel oxides, polyanions, etc.) and anodes (metal oxides, alloys, carbons, etc.). Furthermore, the applications of molten salts as effective electrolytes are demonstrated in representative new-type secondary batteries including AIBs, LMBs and MABs. Finally, the emerging opportunities, challenges, and interesting research trends are envisioned to promote the further development of molten-salt methodology for rechargeable batteries.

Molten salts for rechargeable batteries

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2022.09.005