US20100195261A1 - Capacitors using preformed dielectric - Google Patents

Capacitors using preformed dielectric Download PDF

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US20100195261A1
US20100195261A1 US12698904 US69890410A US2010195261A1 US 20100195261 A1 US20100195261 A1 US 20100195261A1 US 12698904 US12698904 US 12698904 US 69890410 A US69890410 A US 69890410A US 2010195261 A1 US2010195261 A1 US 2010195261A1
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dielectric
electrode
surface
method
comprises
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US12698904
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Daniel C. Sweeney
John B. Read
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Space Charge LLC
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Space Charge LLC
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01GCAPACITORS; CAPACITORS, RECTIFIERS, DETECTORS, SWITCHING DEVICES OR LIGHT-SENSITIVE DEVICES, OF THE ELECTROLYTIC TYPE
    • H01G4/00Fixed capacitors; Processes of their manufacture
    • H01G4/002Details
    • H01G4/005Electrodes
    • H01G4/01Form of self-supporting electrodes
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01GCAPACITORS; CAPACITORS, RECTIFIERS, DETECTORS, SWITCHING DEVICES OR LIGHT-SENSITIVE DEVICES, OF THE ELECTROLYTIC TYPE
    • H01G4/00Fixed capacitors; Processes of their manufacture
    • H01G4/002Details
    • H01G4/005Electrodes
    • H01G4/008Selection of materials
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01GCAPACITORS; CAPACITORS, RECTIFIERS, DETECTORS, SWITCHING DEVICES OR LIGHT-SENSITIVE DEVICES, OF THE ELECTROLYTIC TYPE
    • H01G4/00Fixed capacitors; Processes of their manufacture
    • H01G4/002Details
    • H01G4/018Dielectrics
    • H01G4/06Solid dielectrics
    • H01G4/08Inorganic dielectrics
    • H01G4/12Ceramic dielectrics
    • H01G4/1209Ceramic dielectrics characterised by the ceramic dielectric material
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01GCAPACITORS; CAPACITORS, RECTIFIERS, DETECTORS, SWITCHING DEVICES OR LIGHT-SENSITIVE DEVICES, OF THE ELECTROLYTIC TYPE
    • H01G9/00Electrolytic capacitors, rectifiers, detectors, switching devices, light-sensitive or temperature-sensitive devices; Processes of their manufacture
    • H01G9/004Details
    • H01G9/04Electrodes or formation of dielectric layers thereon
    • H01G9/058Electrodes or formation of dielectric layers thereon specially adapted for double-layer capacitors
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/43Electric condenser making
    • Y10T29/435Solid dielectric type

Abstract

Devices for storing energy at a high density are described. The devices include an electrode preformed to present a high exposed area onto which a dielectric is formed. The dielectric material has a high dielectric constant (high relative permittivity) and a high breakdown voltage, allowing a high voltage difference between paired electrodes to effect a high stored energy density.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Prov. Pat. App. No. 61/206,677 filed Feb. 2, 2009, and titled “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR UTILIZING A HIGH VOLTAGE CAPACITOR BANK AS A SOURCE OF SUSTAINED LOW VOLTAGE ELECTRICAL CURRENT,” U.S. Prov. Pat. App. No. 61/223,688 filed Jul. 7, 2009, and titled “HIGH-VOLTAGE CAPACITOR SOURCE,” and U.S. Prov. Pat. App. No. 61/254,903 filed Oct. 26, 2009, and titled “HIGH-VOLTAGE CAPACITOR SOURCE.” The entire contents of all these applications are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
  • FIELD
  • This application relates to high-density energy storage systems, components and manufacturing methods.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Capacitive interaction occurs in all electronic circuits. Discrete capacitors are included in the circuits to fulfill a variety of roles including frequency filtration, impedance matching and the production of electrical pulses and repetitive signals. Regardless of the complexity of the design, a capacitor can be thought of as two closely spaced conducting plates which may have equal and opposite charges (±Q) residing on them when a voltage (V) is applied. The scalar quantity called capacitance (C) is the ratio of the charge to the applied voltage. When capacitance increases, a significant charge can be stored and a device can be used like a battery.
  • Though basic batteries have a high energy density, they can only deliver a relatively small current since the current must be generated by a chemical reaction occurring within each storage cell. By contrast, capacitors may have a low energy density but can discharge very quickly—a flexibility which is desirable for many applications. Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) is an alternative, but still suffers from a low storage density combined with impractical mass and thermal complexities.
  • FIGS. 1A-1C show prior art capacitor designs. FIG. 1A shows a capacitor having electrical leads connected to conducting plates or electrodes 110. An air-gap 115-1 is left between electrodes 110 so that when a voltage is applied, a positive charge accumulates on the electrode with a positive bias. This results in an opposite charge on the other electrode and an electric field pointing from left to right in FIG. 1A. Each of the capacitors depicted in FIGS. 1A-1C is symmetric, i.e. possesses the same capacitance regardless of which electrode receives the positive voltage.
  • In FIG. 1B, the same capacitor has a dielectric material inserted in the space 115-2 between the electrodes 110. The dielectric constant or relative permittivity of the dielectric material allows the amount of charge (the “capacity” or capacitance of the capacitor) stored on each electrode to increase for the same applied voltage. A higher relative permittivity increases the ability of the dielectric to adjust its distribution of charge in response to the applied voltage; a negative charge accumulates near the positive electrode and a positive charge near the negative electrode. A smaller electric field exists between the electrodes if the relative permittivity is higher.
  • The stored charge can be further increased by using an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC) design. EDLC's have higher energy density than traditional capacitors and are sometimes referred to as “supercapacitors”. Energy can be defined as the amount of charge stored per unit volume. However, the storage density of EDLC's (depicted in FIG. 1C) can still be improved upon. Between electrodes 110, a dielectric material 116 surrounds high surface area electrically-conducting granules 117 distributed in the gap 115-3. A dielectric separator 118 is positioned between two regions of the embedded granules 117. The surfaces of granules 117 on the left of separator 118 are positively charged while the granules 117 on the right develop negative surface charging. The effective surface area of the capacitor is increased which allows even more charge to be stored on electrodes 110 for a given voltage.
  • Despite these advances, further increases in energy storage density of capacitors may improve upon traditional batteries.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY
  • Devices for storing energy at a high density are described. The devices include an electrode preformed to present a high exposed area onto which a dielectric is formed. The dielectric material has a high dielectric constant (high relative permittivity) and a high breakdown voltage, allowing a high voltage difference between paired electrodes to effect a high stored energy density in one embodiment.
  • Additional embodiments and features are set forth in part in the description that follows, and in part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the specification or may be learned by the practice of the disclosed embodiments. The features and advantages of the disclosed embodiments may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities, combinations, and methods described in the specification.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • A further understanding of the nature and advantages of the disclosed embodiments may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and the drawings.
  • FIGS. 1A-1C are schematics of prior art capacitors.
  • FIG. 2 is a flowchart for forming a high-voltage storage capacitor according to disclosed embodiments.
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic of a high-voltage storage capacitor according to disclosed embodiments.
  • FIGS. 4A-B are perspective views of a wire weave or mesh for use as an electrode within a high-voltage storage capacitor according to disclosed embodiments.
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a multi-layer stacked high-voltage storage capacitor according to disclosed embodiments.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a multi-layer stacked high-voltage storage capacitor according to disclosed embodiments.
  • FIG. 7 is a flowchart for forming the multi-layer stacked high-voltage storage capacitor of FIG. 6 according to disclosed embodiments.
  • In the appended figures, similar components and/or features may have the same reference label. Further, various components of the same type may be distinguished by following the reference label by a dash and a second label that distinguishes among the similar components. If only the first reference label is used in the specification, the description is applicable to any one of the similar components having the same first reference label irrespective of the second reference label.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Devices for storing energy at a high density are described. The devices include an electrode preformed to present a high exposed area onto which a dielectric is formed. The dielectric material has a high dielectric constant (high relative permittivity) and a high breakdown voltage, allowing a high voltage difference between paired electrodes to effect a high stored energy density in one embodiment.
  • The quantity of energy stored in a capacitor is proportional to the capacitance which, in turn, is proportional to the contact area between the dielectric material and the electrodes as well as the effective relative permittivity of the dielectric material between the two electrodes. The electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC) described above owes its relatively high energy storage capacity to an increased effective surface area of the electrodes, which creates increased capacitance. However, the EDLC design is not conducive to operation at elevated voltages since the electric fields can become high enough to result in a breakdown of the dielectric material. In some embodiments, energy storage density and capacity can be improved by increasing the voltage across the electrodes. This is because the storage capacity is proportional to the square of the voltage, making this an even more attractive parameter to increase when possible. For example, an increase in voltage potential across a capacitor from about 1 volt to about 100 volts increases the storage capacity of the device by a factor of 10,000. Accordingly, capacitors which allow the charging voltage to increase may rival storage battery energy densities while still allowing high output power to be generated.
  • FIG. 2 provides a flow diagram of an embodiment utilized to construct a high energy storage capacitor with preformed electrodes. In step 201, the electrodes are textured in order to increase surface area with a dielectric material. In step 202, a dielectric is deposited onto the surfaces of the electrodes in a wetting process. In step, 203, the dielectric is solidified onto the surfaces of the electrodes in order to create a bond between the electrode and the dielectric, increase the permittivity of the dielectric and ensure the highest contact area between the electrode and dielectric. In step 204, the capacitor is formed by layering multiple opposing electrodes on which dielectric material is deposited. Finally, in step 205, a voltage is applied to charge the capacitor. Various embodiments of these steps are further discussed in the following paragraphs, with specific reference given to the description of FIG. 3.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, a schematic view of a capacitor according to disclosed embodiments is illustrated. Electrodes 310 are electrically attached to electrical leads 305. The electrodes 310, may be made from metallic textiles as well as conductive polymers. Metallic textiles may be woven, knitted or braided to produce a mesh-like structure with a degree of porosity to increase surface area of an electrode. The porosity may be used to describe the roughness of the textured textile. However, it will be understood that rugosity may also be used to describe the roughness. Metallic textiles may be made of a variety of metals generally chosen for their conductivity and ease of manufacture. Exemplary metallic textiles may comprise tin to enhance ductility and may be an alloy to maintain conductivity (example: copper (95%) tin (5%)). The size and density of the comprising wires may be chosen to facilitate the insertion of liquid dielectric and the wire density may range from about ten to thousands of wires per centimeter or more. Wire sizes and weave density may be chosen to provide gaps in the weave structure ranging from several microns to several hundred microns.
  • Metallic textiles may be sintered and calendered to improve conductivity and to ensure a compact, low aspect ratio structure. Sintering and calendering also helps to reduce sharp edges and high radius curves, properties also reduce the chance of electrical discharge between electrodes. The choice of the structure of the metallic textile is another variable which can be beneficially controlled. Avoiding open circuits and ensuring each comprising wire begins and ends at the edge of the fabric also reduces the chances of undesirable electrical discharge across the dielectric material from one electrode to the other electrode. Wires ends may be connected together near the edge of the metallic textile. A single wire may be used to form one electrode and the ends of the single wire may be joined together. Alternatively, multiple wires (strands) may be used to form the metallic textile and the ends of each strand may be joined. In another embodiment, ends of separate strands may be joined, generally near the edge of the textile.
  • Textured electrodes may also comprise a metallic open-cell foam or “sponge” configurations. The open cell structure is useful since the connectivity of the voids allows the liquid dielectric to be injected in amongst the textured electrode more easily. Metallic open-cell foam may be formed using a sintering process and comprise tungsten, nickel, gold or other conducting material. Textured electrodes may also be a three dimensional repeating cage-like structure which similarly provides pathways for liquid dielectric to enter the metallic matrix. In a further embodiment, the open-foam structure may comprise of carbon aerogel. Though very low density, carbon aerogel has a high surface area due to its porosity. The variety of techniques described herein for texturing electrodes are exemplary. Furthermore, surface area enhancing techniques are not mutually exclusive. A variety of porous foams are available from INCO Special Products of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. An example of an appropriate film is INCOFOAM™ which possess cell sizes in the range 450-800 μm.
  • In FIG. 2, at step 201, to further increase energy storage capacity electrodes 310 may be textured in a variety of ways to increase their surface area in contact with dielectric material 316. A relatively simple texturing configuration will be described initially along with a general overview of assembly considerations. These assembly considerations apply to all the texturing configurations unless otherwise noted. Electrodes 310 are shown with multiple fingers 317 protruding from the base of the electrodes 310. Each finger 317 is electrically conducting to allow the redistribution of charge enabling electrical energy to be stored. Fingers 317 are shown in electrical contact with electrodes 310. Fingers 317 and electrodes 310 are in mechanical contact to control the smallest separation between fingers 317 from opposite electrodes 310.
  • Exemplary finger structures may be formed by ion-milling structures 317 into electrodes 310 or growing the finger structures 317 onto a conducting electrode 310. FIG. 3 shows two textured electrodes 310, however one textured electrode is also possible in disclosed embodiments regardless of the type of texture. Microtube fingers and other microstructures may be formed on one or both electrodes of a variety of compositions including carbon-containing structures. A vendor for carbon-containing structures is Energy Science Laboratories, Inc. of San Diego, Calif. Textured electrodes may more generally have metal fibers or conducting carbon fibers and the fibers may have a variety of orientations and do not need to be straight. A textured surface may have a surface area which is larger than that of a flat surface but otherwise similar electrode by a factor of above or about 4, above or about 10, above or about 20, above or about 50, above or about 100 or above or about 200 in different embodiments.
  • The surface areas of the textures electrodes are calculated by methods appropriate for the nature of the surface. Some surfaces may be accessible by an atomic force microscope (AFM) when overhanging portions or fibers do not complicate or interfere with measurement by a physical tip. In the interest of unambiguously defining the area ratio, the lateral spacing of the data points may be several nanometers, the tip is applied with a moderate force to avoid crashing and is operated in tapping mode. Imaging software is capable of estimating the total surface area by tiling the surface with triangles. The surface can be tiled completely and the area of the triangles can be summed to determine the total area. In the case of columns, fibers or nanostructures, the dimensions can be estimated by approximating the objects on the surface as one or more geometric shapes. For example, a metal fiber from a “carpet” of metal fibers attached to an electrode base may be modeled as a cylinder having a diameter of a given number of microns. The exposed area of the carpet (i.e., the textured electrode) may be calculated by determining the outer area of a cylinder having average height for the metal fiber carpet. The total area supplied by the fibers themselves may be estimated by further multiplying by an estimate of the areal density of fibers and the base area. The estimate of the area of the fibers is added to the areas of the electrode base which are not covered by fibers to calculate the total exposed area. The estimate of the exposed area of the carpet is divided by the area of a flat (featureless) surface of the same planar dimensions. The surface area of a flat but otherwise similar electrode to an etched aluminum foil 2 cm by 4 cm would be 8 cm squared (cm2), for example.
  • In other embodiments, microtomography may be utilized to render a 2-D or 3-D image of the surface of the textured electrode through x-rays. In such an embodiment, different mathematical calculations, such as root means square deviation and others known within the art, may be utilized to measure the surface area of the rendered image.
  • Referring back to FIG. 2, at step 201, a dielectric material may be deposited onto the electrodes. A dielectric material 316 with a high relative permittivity and high breakdown field is utilized. The high relative permittivity may be above or about 500, above or about 1,000, above or about 2,000, above or about 5,000, above or about 10,000 or above or about 20,000 in various embodiments. The breakdown voltage of assembled devices may be above or about 1 kilovolt (kV), above or about 2 kV or above or about 4 kV in various embodiments. Suitable ultra-high permittivity dielectric materials 316 include dielectric suspended “Tungsten Bronze” crystals which exhibit a breakdown field of greater than 60 kilovolts per centimeter (kV/cm). Other exemplary high permittivity dielectric materials include ceramic perovskite.
  • The depositing and formation of dielectric material 316 onto the electrodes is more complex when using textured electrodes 310. Herein, the term dielectric material will be used to refer to the region of dielectric between the extremum 315 of the texture where a solid slab of dielectric material can be physically slid in-between and/or also the region along the surface of the texture. The energy storage capacity is increased when the dielectric is inserted within the texturing, for example, between the fingers 317. This may involve grinding a dielectric into small enough granules to flow within fingers 317 and then placing the granules in amongst the fingers when assembling the device. A greater filling fraction increases the amount of energy which can be stored in the device.
  • Alternatively, a flowable dielectric may be flowed into the region between fingers 317. A flowable dielectric may provide a greater filling fraction provided that the wetting properties are such that the flowable dielectric is drawn into the region between the fingers 317 rather than repulsed. Flowable dielectric may be actively induced to fill the gaps in the texture by applying a positive pressure to press the liquid into the gaps. A vacuum may also be created in the vicinity of the texture to draw the liquid into the gaps. Depending on the chemistry of the liquid dielectric and the chemical structure/content on the surface of fingers 317, wetting can often be manipulated by performing a surface pretreatment of either an acidic or basic aqueous solution. The wetting may also be improved by providing an additive to the liquid dielectric itself, keeping in mind that relative permittivity and electric breakdown field should both remain high enough for the intended application.
  • A flowable dielectric may include a liquid solution along with dielectric granules in suspension. During subsequent processing, for example during a firing step, the liquid solution may be evaporated leaving the dielectric granules in amongst the texture of the electrode(s). Generally speaking, flowable dielectrics may have a flow-enabling component which allows the material to be flowed onto the texture of electrodes 310. Another approach involves applying molten dielectric into the texture of electrodes 310 to fill the gaps. Voids or apertures in the dielectric material may be avoided to increase the energy storage capacity.
  • Depending on the dielectric material, penetration into all regions may not readily occur. Accordingly, two flowable dielectrics may be flowed within the region between the two electrodes. A low viscosity dielectric may be flowed first to better penetrate the texture of one or both electrodes. A higher viscosity dielectric may then be flowed. The higher viscosity dielectric does not need to penetrate the texture as completely as the low viscosity dielectric, but is utilized to provide a higher dielectric constant in the penetrated regions. The viscosity may be adjusted by altering the viscosity of the liquid component of the flowable dielectric and/or by increasing the concentration of the solid dielectric granules which have high dielectric constant. A dielectric material in this example as well as the other exemplary materials may include two or more dielectric layers each comprising a different dielectric material.
  • Suitable dielectrics for flowing between textured electrodes 310 include polymer electrolytes designed for high permittivity and high voltage. A vendor for these types of dielectric materials is Strategic Polymer Sciences in Pennsylvania and Sigma Technologies in Arizona. Alternatively, polymer dielectrics loaded with ceramic powders may be utilized. A vendor for these types of dielectric materials is TPL, Inc. of Albuquerque, N.M.
  • The flowable dielectric may be formed by grinding high relative permittivity material into granules and introducing the granules into a liquid. Such a solution may be referred to as a slurry and may contain crystals, binders and carrier fluids to promote flowability. A slurry, as with a liquid dielectric, is injected in and around the textured electrode. The liquid dielectric and the solid granules will likely have different relative permittivities. Typically, the liquid dielectrics display a lower permittivity and the solid granules display a higher permittivity. The combined or effective permittivity of the material between and amongst textured electrodes will depend on both permittivities and display values between the lower and higher permittivities. A sol-gel process may also be used, in which a fluid transition from a more fluid solution into a more viscous solution during use. A slurry may be actively inserted in amongst the texture of an electrode through pressurizing, applying a vacuum to draw the slurry into the texture, relying on capillary forces or by applying an electromagnetic field (electrophoresis). Following penetration of the texture by the flowable dielectric, the flowable dielectric may be solidified by any number of processes including firing.
  • Solid or semi-solid dielectric material may also be placed into the region adjacent to the textured electrode. Heating one or both the dielectric and the electrode may allow the dielectric to become fluid and flow into the texture. The dielectric may be extruded and then braided, woven or knitted to facilitate the process. The dielectric mass may then be heated or fired to produce a cohesive mass where the dielectric lies in intimate contact with the texture of the electrode. Firing the dielectric may promote the bond between the electrode and the dielectric and is also helpful in increasing the electrical permittivity of many dielectrics. The process of firing occurs when a material is heated near to its melting point.
  • During assembly, discrete spacers may be used to maintain a separation between the electrodes during insertion and processing of the dielectric material. High-temperature-tolerant separator films are also available for this purpose. A cut-out in the shape of the dielectric material may be made in the separator film and the film may be used to provide a contiguous separation around the perimeter of the capacitor between the electrodes.
  • Referring again to FIG. 2, in step 203, the flowable dielectric material is formed into a solid structure. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the flowable dielectric solidifies after flowing into the region between fingers 317 in an embodiment. The solidification may result from simply waiting for the flow-enabling additive to evaporate from the material or the dielectric material may be actively cured by shining light (e.g. ultraviolet light), raising the temperature (annealing), irradiating with an e-beam and/or similar processes known to those of skill in the art. Molten dielectric can solidify by cooling to a temperature below the melting temperature of the dielectric.
  • In FIG. 2, at step 204, a capacitor may be formed from one or more layers of dielectric. An electrode with deposited dielectric material may be placed adjacent to similar, opposing electrodes. In the case of a multi-layer capacitor, processing of the dielectric materials may be done simultaneously in some embodiments. Upon completion of a multi-layer capacitor, they may be combined in series or in parallel depending on the application. In a parallel configuration every other electrode is connected electrically.
  • As indicated, many designs are possible for increasing the effective surface area the electrodes through texturing the surface in various embodiments. A plane of parallel conducting wires can be used for the electrode(s) and the flowable dielectric may be introduced on either side of the multiple parallel wires as well as between each adjacent pair of wires. In addition, other surface patterns may be formed utilizing conducting wires.
  • In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIGS. 4A-4B, perspective views of a metallic weave or mesh may be used to produce one or both of the electrodes for a storage capacitor. Metallic weaves and meshes are a subset of as the aforementioned metallic textiles. As shown, the metallic weave 400 produces a series of peaks 401 and valleys 402 which create a high surface area on which the dielectric material may be deposited. The structure of the metallic weave may include multi-ply weaves, triaxial weaves, multi-axial weaves and/or any other weave known in the art. Stock and custom knitted wire weaves or meshes can be obtained from ACS Industries of Woonsocket, R.I. Customized metallic meshes may have approximate pore sizes in the range from 100 μm up to several millimeters in different embodiments. The size of the weave is important because, if a weave is made too tightly or too small, the dielectric materials may not be able to penetrate the surface. As discussed, maximizing surface area and contact between that area and the dielectric is desirable. Accordingly, when utilizing a weave, the rugosity of the type of dielectric utilized is selectively chosen based on the type of weave.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, a capacitor using metallic textile electrodes during assembly is illustrated in another embodiment. Each post 504 serves as a portion of an electrical lead and connects to alternating electrodes, enhancing the energy storage of the completed device. Each electrode layer 501 may be of opposite charge and textured to create an increased surface area. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, a metallic textile weave is utilized as the electrode 501, similar to that shown in FIG. 4A-4B. The weave may include a dielectric material 502 which has be flowed onto each electrode and solidified, prior to layering the electrodes. The layers of combined dielectric material and electrode may be further separated by spacers 503 and/or dielectric slabs in order to ensure separation of charge between the opposing electrodes and reduce leakage. The spacers may be made of similar to the dielectric materials utilized within the electrodes.
  • FIG. 6 shows another method of texturing the electrode in an embodiment. For purposes of illustration, a serpentine electrode configuration 600 can be constructed using open-cell foam material in such an embodiment. This embodiment involves arranging the conducting electrode material in a serpentine pattern to increase surface area. The material may be heated and formed into the serpentine electrode 601 structure and then sintered or calendared to reduce sharp edges. Dielectric material 602 in the form of slab structures, may be inserted into the spaces created between the crests and troughs of the serpentine structure. In addition, spacers may be utilized between each successive layer of an opposing electrode. The spacers may also be a dielectric of the same material for the slabs, or other suitable high permittivity dielectric.
  • In a further embodiment, to increase contact between the serpentine electrodes 601 and the dielectric material 602, the assembled device may be submerged in a liquid dielectric (not shown) to fill voids 603 between dielectric material and the serpentine electrodes. Following the insertion of dielectric material between and into the electrodes, the dielectric may be fired in an oxidizing environment (e.g., air) in order to increase the permittivity. The electrode material is selected to withstand firing in order to maintain the structure of the system. Therefore, electrode materials with higher melting temperatures than the dielectric is used in these embodiments. Preferably, the electrode material resists oxidation. Noble metals, refractory metals and specialized alloys are examples of electrode material and include silver, platinum, tungsten, iridium, ruthenium, tantalum, monel, inconel, and/or fecralloy. Additional non-oxidizing materials suitable for electrodes include carbon, graphene, and conductive resins and plastics. Regardless of the type of texturing used, liquid dielectric with or without a permittivity-enhancing suspension may be injected in and around the metallic weaves or serpentine electrodes to increase the storage capacity.
  • FIG. 7 provides a flowchart of a two stage dielectric deposition process for forming the capacitor of FIG. 6, in an exemplary embodiment. The structure of the electrodes is formed in step 701. As previously discussed, this may be through molding a metallic textile, or purchasing a preformed metallic textile in a weave or open-cell foam structure. For illustration in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the structure is formed in step 701 as a serpentine pattern.
  • In step 702, a first dielectric is deposited onto the formed electrode structure. The first dielectric may be viscose and flowed onto the surface of the electrode structure or simply inserted into voids created by the geometry of the electrode structure, such as those illustrated in FIG. 6. The first dielectric may be solidified onto the electrode structure prior to the deposition of the second dielectric or inserted into the voids in an solid form, such as a dielectric slab.
  • Accordingly, in step 703, the solidified electrode structure containing two deposited dielectrics, may be layered with other opposing electrode structures to form a capacitor as illustrated in FIG. 6. Spacers of the same material of the first dielectric may be included between each successive layer of electrode in order to further separate the opposing electrodes and prevent leakage during operation. The opposing dielectric layers may be electrically connected to leads supplying opposite charges in series or parallel. In FIG. 6, the opposing electrodes are connected to a leads in a parallel configuration, with every other electrode being connected to a lead.
  • In step 704, a second dielectric may be added to the electrode structure. The second dielectric may be flowed into the voids created by the electrode structure and the solidified first dielectric. In order to bond the second dielectric to the structure, the entire structure may be fired. In alternative embodiments, the second dielectric may be heated to a temperature in order to cause fluidity and solidifying when cooled. For example, dielectric soda glass, which has a low melting temperature may be utilized in such an embodiment.
  • Having disclosed several embodiments, it will be recognized by those of skill in the art that various modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents may be used without departing from the spirit of the disclosed embodiments. Additionally, a number of well known processes and elements have not been described in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the present invention. While the principles of the disclosure have been described above in connection with specific apparatuses and methods, it is to be clearly understood that this description is made only by way of example and not as limitation on the scope of the disclosure.
  • As used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms “a”, “an”, and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to “a process” includes a plurality of such processes and reference to “the dielectric material” includes reference to one or more dielectric materials and equivalents thereof known to those skilled in the art, and so forth.
  • Also, the words “comprise,” “comprising,” “include,” “including,” and “includes” when used in this specification and in the following claims are intended to specify the presence of stated features, integers, components, or steps, but they do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, components, steps, acts, or groups.

Claims (22)

  1. 1. A storage capacitor comprising:
    a first electrode having a first surface with a first surface area;
    a second electrode having a second surface with a second surface area, wherein the second electrode is physically separated from the first electrode creating a gap between the first electrode and the second electrode; and
    a dielectric material disposed within the gap and contacting the first surface and the second surface, wherein an effective relative permittivity between the first electrode and the second electrode is greater than or about 500.
  2. 2. The storage capacitor of claim 1 wherein the first surface comprises a textured surface structure, wherein the first surface area ranges from greater than or about 4 to greater than or about 50 times larger than a flat surface similar to the first surface.
  3. 3. The storage capacitor of claim 2, wherein the first surface of the first electrode comprises a metallic open-cell foam.
  4. 4. The storage capacitor of claim 3, wherein the metallic open-cell foam comprises nickel.
  5. 5. The storage capacitor of claim 1, wherein the second surface is a textured surface wherein the second surface area ranges from greater than or about 4 to greater than or about 50 times larger than a flat surface similar to the second surface.
  6. 6. The storage capacitor of claim 1, wherein the effective relative permittivity ranges between above or about 1000 to above or about 2000.
  7. 7. The storage capacitor of claim 1, wherein the dielectric material comprises ceramic perovskite.
  8. 8. The storage capacitor of claim 1, wherein the dielectric material comprises tungsten bronze perovskite.
  9. 9. The storage capacitor of claim 1, wherein the dielectric material comprises two or more dielectric layers each layer being a different dielectric material.
  10. 10. A method of forming a storage capacitor, the method comprising:
    providing a first metal electrode with a first surface;
    providing a second metal electrode with a second surface, wherein the second electrode is physically separate from the first electrode creating a gap between the first electrode and the second electrode; and
    flowing a dielectric between the first electrode and the second electrode into the gap; and
    converting the flowable dielectric to a solid dielectric having a relative permittivity greater than or about 500.
  11. 11. The method of claim 10, wherein the relative permittivity ranges above or about 1000 to above or about 2000.
  12. 12. The method of claim 10, wherein the operation of flowing a dielectric comprises the sequential steps of:
    flowing a first dielectric; and
    flowing a second dielectric,
    wherein a viscosity of the first dielectric is less than the viscosity of the second dielectric.
  13. 13. The method of claim 10, wherein the first metal electrode is textured and the operation of flowing a dielectric between the first and second electrodes further comprises flowing the dielectric onto the first metal electrode wherein the contact area between the dielectric and the first metal electrode ranges from greater than or about 4 to greater than or about 50 times the contact area flat surface with a similar electrode having a flat surface.
  14. 14. The method of claim 13, wherein the first metal electrode comprises a woven metal mesh.
  15. 15. The method of claim 13, wherein the first metal electrode comprises a metal foam.
  16. 16. The method of claim 13, wherein the first metal electrode comprises metal fibers.
  17. 17. The method of claim 16, wherein the metal fibers comprise carbon fibers.
  18. 18. The method of claim 10, wherein the second metal electrode is textured and the operation of flowing a dielectric between the first and second electrodes further comprises flowing the dielectric in amongst the second metal electrode wherein the contact area between the dielectric and the second metal electrode ranges from greater than or about 4 to greater than or about 50 times a contact area with a similar electrode having a flat surface.
  19. 19. The method of claim 10, wherein the operation of converting the flowable dielectric to a solid dielectric comprises curing the dielectric.
  20. 20. The method of claim 10, wherein the operation of converting the flowable dielectric to a solid dielectric comprises annealing the dielectric.
  21. 21. The method of claim 10, wherein the operation of converting the flowable dielectric to a solid dielectric comprises irradiating the dielectric with ultraviolet light.
  22. 22. The method of claim 10, wherein the dielectric comprises solid granules of material, which increase the relative permittivity of the solid dielectric.
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