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Colloquium: Nitash Balsara (UC Berkeley)

October 21, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Natash P. Balsara
Vice Chair for Graduate Education
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
The Charles W. Tobias Professor in Electrochemistry


Abstract: Negative Diffusion Coefficients, the Pesko Condition, and Performance of Polymer Electrolytes for Lithium Batteries

The need for creating safe electrolytes for lithium batteries is significant given the continued safety problems associated with current lithium-ion batteries.  Nonflammable polymer electrolytes offer a possible solution but the rate of lithium ion transport is too low for practical applications.  In this talk, I will discuss some of the fundamental factors that limit ion transport in polymers.  In all electrolytes, the current generated at steady state is governed by the applied potential.  This relationship depends on Stefan-Maxwell diffusion coefficients that are negative over a substantial salt concentration range in polymer electrolytes.  I will use these diffusion coefficients to analyze and predict battery performance.  A crucial ingredient in the analysis is a “condition” that my PhD student Danielle Pesko arrived at.

Biographical Summary of Nitash P. Balsara

Nitash P. Balsara is a chemical engineer with a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India in 1982.  His graduate education began with a master's degree from Clarkson University.  This was followed by PhD from RPI.    After 2 post-docs at the University of Minnesota and Exxon, he joined the faculty of Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn.  In 2000 he accepted the job that he currently holds: a joint appointment as professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where is currently the Charles W. Tobias Professor of Electrochemistry, and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Along with his students and collaborators, he cofounded two battery start-ups, Seeo, Inc., and Blue Current.