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ISRN Nanomaterials
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 151748, 8 pages
Research Article

Development of Lead-Free Nanowire Composites for Energy Storage Applications

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA

Received 31 August 2012; Accepted 25 September 2012

Academic Editors: J. Blázquez and A. A. Ismail

Copyright © 2012 Miguel Mendoza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is an increasing demand to improve the energy density of dielectric capacitors for satisfying the next generation material systems. One effective approach is to embed high dielectric constant inclusions such as lead zirconia titanate in polymer matrix. However, with the increasing concerns on environmental safety and biocompatibility, the need to expel lead (Pb) from modern electronics has been receiving more attention. Using high aspect ratio dielectric inclusions such as nanowires could lead to further enhancement of energy density. Therefore, this paper focuses on the development of a lead-free nanowire reinforced polymer matrix capacitor for energy storage application. Lead-free sodium niobate nanowires (NaNbO3) were synthesized using hydrothermal method, followed by mixing them with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) matrix using a solution-casting method for nanocomposites fabrication. Capacitance and breakdown strength of the samples were measured to determine the energy density. The energy density of NaNbO3/PVDF composites was also compared with that of lead-containing (PbTiO3/PVDF) nanocomposites and previously developed Pb( )O3/PVDF composites to show the feasibility of replacing lead-containing materials. The energy density of NaNbO3/PVDF capacitor is comparable to those of lead-containing ones, indicating the possibility of expelling lead from high-energy density dielectric capacitors.