Graduate Student Highlight: Jiadeng Zhu

Name:  Jiadeng Zhu

Degree Program: PhD in Fiber and Polymer Science

Advisor(s):  Dr. Xiangwu Zhang

Degrees you have: 

  • Bachelor in Macromolecular Materials & Engineering
  • Master in Textile Engineering

 Where are you from?

China

What is your town / country like?

There are 55 Minorities and 1 Majority in China, the multi-culture background makes Chinese very open mind, work hard, and eager to learn. These precious characters bring high development of both economics and high technology research in China as seen to all.

Why did you decide to pursue your degree at NC State University?

My major is Fiber and Polymer Science which is one part of Textiles, and it is well known that the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University is the top Wilson College of Textiles in the world. I believe I will get the greatest possible education in my field here.

Give a short description of your research:

My research interest spans from materials synthesis, electrochemistry, and cell design to advanced characterizations with the goal of understanding the synthesis-structure-performance relationship in energy-related materials and their underlying reaction mechanisms. My current research focuses on lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries, lithium/sodium-ion batteries, thin film, polymer synthesis, and carbon-based materials’ applications.

How does your research impact the world?

Energy storage systems are essential for the extensive development of portable electronic devices, electric vehicles, etc., due to the continuously increasing global demand for energy. Li-S batteries are one of the prospective candidates in this regard because S has a high theoretical capacity of 1,675 mAh g-1, and is low cost and environmentally friendly. The originality of my current work is related to the use of a simple coating method instead of any complex electrode structure design to achieve excellent electrochemical performance (e.g., high cycling stability and good rate capability simultaneously) for Li-S batteries. In addition, the cell configuration suggested by my work can be fabricated on a large scale at a low cost, further enhancing the practicality of Li-S batteries.

Have you published your work yet and/or received any awards?  If you have published, please provide the citation and an abstract appropriate at the high school science level:

Yes, I have some publications. The abstract of the most promising one is as followings (Zhu et al., A Novel Separator Coated by Carbon for Achieving Exceptional High Performance Lithium-Sulfur Batteries, Nano Energy, 2015).

Abstract: Lithium-sulfur batteries have received intense attention because of their high theoretical capacity, low cost and environmental friendliness. However, low active material utilization and poor cycle life limit their practical applications. Here, we report a strategy to obtain high capacity with long cycle life and rapid charge rate by introducing a carbon coating on the separator. Excellent cycling performance with a high capacity 956 mAh g-1 after 200 cycles and outstanding high-rate response up to 4C are achieved, which are among the best reports so far. High electrochemical performance can be obtained even at a high sulfur loading of 3.37 mg cm-2. Such improved results could be ascribed to the conductive carbon coating, which not only reduces the cell resistance but blocks the diffusion of soluble polysulfides avoiding shuttle effect during cycling. This study demonstrates a feasible, low cost and scalable approach to address the long-term cycling challenge for lithium-sulfur batteries.

 What is your favorite thing about TECS / NC State?

The free and efficient research atmosphere.

Who has influenced you most during your research here and how?

My supervisor, Dr. Xiangwu Zhang, has influenced me most during my research here. Without his great guidance, patience, support, and encouragement, this research has had the chance to grow. What he has done for me has also helped me develop skills in critical thinking and written communication, which are beneficial to my future career as well.

What do you find most exciting about your field of study?

When I think that I am participating in research that can change the world a little by little every day, this makes me very excited and proud.