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With electric cars, smartphones, and laptops, the need for mobile energy storage devices continues to grow. This demand is principally met by lithium-ion batteries. They consist of two electrodes that do not touch each other due to the presence of a separator, all of which are bathed in an electrolyte solution.

Different fluoropolymers — a family of molecules to which KYNAR® PVDF belongs — offer excellent cost–performance ratios as cathode binders and separator coatings to improve their performance: energy density, power, storage capacity, lifespan, reliability, etc.

The catalysis, polymerization, processing, and materials laboratory has been conducting research on these polymers for more than thirty years, which has led to this alliance between Arkema, the CNRS, Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, and CPE Lyon, within a new joint laboratory project: iHub Poly-9. This laboratory works in partnership with Arkema's newly created battery center of excellence on the Pierre-Bénite site.

"I am delighted with this partnership with Arkema, which is part of a long history of cooperation. We are pursuing a constant policy of developing joint laboratories with companies of all sizes, as confirmed by the more than 200 joint laboratories already in existence. This ambitious form of collaboration between business and academia is based on fundamental research to provide a response to major industrial challenges," said Antoine Petit, President and CEO of CNRS.

This laboratory is another joint initiative in the long-standing collaboration between Arkema and the CNRS. It is a perfect illustration of Arkema's ongoing commitment to open innovation and partnerships with the academic world. This enables us to draw on the best expertise to develop sustainable, high-performance materials in strategic areas such as batteries and hydrogen."

The scientists involved are particularly interested in polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) and in its copolymers. This family of polymers is extremely stable both chemically and electrochemically. Their synthesis, which takes place in a medium dispersed in water, requires high pressures that can exceed 100 bars, an expertise of which the CP2M benefits from, as it has reactors capable of reaching these pressures in complete safety.

Collaboration with Arkema is primarily exemplified by the holding of five doctorates that will be studying the synthesis and processing of fluoropolymers intended for the field of energy. This includes a thesis financed by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, and three CIFRE [Convention Industrielle de Formation par la REcherche (Industrial Research Training Partnserhip)] theses funded by the company, as well as the purchase of equipment for a 50-m² laboratory dedicated exclusively to iHub Poly-9 within the premises of CP2M.

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