HDR Scholarship - Improving battery safety

Updated: 5 months ago
Location: Melbourne, VICTORIA
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

Project Supervisor

Prof Ying (Ian) Chen

Associate Supervisor

Dr Md Mokhlesur Rahman


Institute for Frontier Materials


GTP Research


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

This PhD research project funded by Deakin University Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) is the part of an ARC project. This research is partially funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council. The project aims to improve the safety of lithium ion batteries via development of high temperature stable separators. Commercial polymer separators shrink under high temperatures causing battery to short circuit. The separators' thermal stability will be improved by coating them with boron nitride nanotubes which have very high thermal and chemical stability. The nanotube-coated separators will allow battery cells to operate safely under high temperature environments with an improved electrochemical performance. The outcomes will position Australia on the cutting edge of battery technology and are beneficial to energy storage development in Australia.

The use of batteries in a hot Australian summer, with local temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius, is a major safety issue for our society. This project will develop a new safe battery technology with the help of boron nitride nanotubes to effectively reduce the risk of thermal runaway of battery cells. The expected outcomes will have an enormous global impact on the safety of the current battery technology and innovative application of boron nitride nanotubes in battery technology.

Project aimShow

This project aims to develop new separators with a high thermal stability and thus effectively reduce the risk of thermal runaway at elevated temperatures. The detailed objectives include:

  • To develop a process for coating polyolefin separators with BNNTs ensuring improved mechanical and chemical properties up to 150o C.
  • To improve electrochemical performance and safety of lithium ion battery cells with BNNT-coated separators at elevated environment temperatures (> 60o C).
  • To perform a deep investigation of the new BNNT separators’ influence on lithium ion battery’s performance using advanced in-situ and ex-situ analysing techniques.

  • Important dates

    Applications close 5pm, Thursday 28th February 2019.


    This scholarship is available over 3 years.

    • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
    • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
    • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

    To be eligible you must:

    • be either a domestic or international candidate
    • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
    • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

    Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

    Additional desirable criteria include:

    • Experience with battery research
    • Master degree in Materials Science and Engineering or Chemistry

    For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Ying (Ian) Chen

    Prof Ying (Ian) Chen
    Alfred Deakin Professor and Chair in Nanotechnology
    Email Ying (Ian) Chen
    +61 3 522 73243

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