American Energy Technologies Company is committed to supporting our company sales into the business segments of advanced batteries, paints and coatings, and specialty materials and technologies. As part of our commitment, we operate a fully-functional laboratory facility located in Arlington Heights, IL. The facility consists of multiple labs, outfitted with the most modern analytical processes and R&D equipment. This equipment ranges from the being the only such apparatus in the nation to tried-and-tested machines generally accepted throughout the industry. We actively work with the most advanced vendors from Canada, US, Japan, France, and Germany, to name a few, in sourcing our analytical instruments and processing machines.
The advanced analytical capabilities of our lab are represented by a recently-commissioned solid-ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma on Solids technology). While ICP instruments are not rare in our industry, the majority of them work on the principle that samples are first leached in concentrated acids; the impurities are transferred into a solution, which is diluted before being fed into plasma torch. In this process, there is always a good chance that not all the mineral impurities trapped in the host structure are being leached out. In our case, we are able to test dry mineral samples. The sample is disintegrated in a high-temperature furnace in the
presence of activating chemicals. All impurities are transferred into a torch to generate the intensity signal tied to their concentration. The ultimate purity is thereby detected. We are proud to state that we have detected concentrations of certain critical battery poisons in materials, previously undetected by the most advanced traditional method of glow mass discharge spectrometry (GDMS). We invite industry representatives to contact us to find out more solid-ICP and its benefits.
AETC has dozens of digital optical microscopes, which allow visually analyzing properties and qualities of parts and powders at magnifications from 0 to 500 times. At a higher magnification, we operate a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), which uses a beam of electrons to generate signals, zooming in over 20,000 times. These signals are then converted into an image illustrating the particles and allow us to easily recognize characteristics such as particle size and shape.
Another great installation at the AETC labs is the ISI 200 kV Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). This instrument has arguably one of the largest magnifications in the industry. By the time an X-Ray beam reaches the CCV camera, the image has been magnified by up to 3 million times. This immensely high magnification value allows for atomic-level resolution, particularly in graphites and silicon. Our capability in TEM surpasses the analytical imaging capabilities of many academic institutions in the nation.
AETC operates an extensive equipment park of grinding, sizing, milling and classifying technologies. The sizing equipment may be exemplified by an air jet mill. This mill is equipped with counter-opposed nozzles which force directly opposing jet streams (incoming from an adjacent air compressor) to cause inter-particle impact. These collisions effectively reduce the particle size. We also operate efficient crushers whose unique design features come into play when processing raw minerals and ore. This crusher allows us to reduce the particle size of mined rock or organic matter from 3/4 in to 100 mesh in a single pass. This is a very effective result, considering the hardness of incoming raw material. Finer grinds may be picked up by a variety of mechanical mills which further reduce particle sizes to <325 mesh with required precision. To this point, we are proud to operate Japanese- and Canadian-made milling technologies which establish state-of-the-art mechanical grinding. For liquid products and dispersions, we operate an ultrafine grinding mill which is especially efficient for the deaggregation of carbon black and the fine sizing of synthetic graphite. The mill is capable of wet grinding incoming feed to < 1 micron to nano sizes.
For Lithium battery projects we operate top of the line Glove Box chambers filled with Argon atmosphere (MBraun, Inc). The glove box technologies ensure moisture level of < 0.1 ppm – some of the lowest level of contaminants for the industry we serve. At AETC we have multi-channel potentiostats / galvanostats. They operate at current loads from 10 uA to 40 A and are connected with the 1.25 cu. ft. Tenney Test Chamber, which allows to cycle batteries within the temperature range from -73°C to 200°C.
Cell and battery manufacture is done using high tech tooling, majority of which is designed and manufactured by AETC. We are able to assemble from scratch coin cells of CR2016, CR2450, CR2032, CR2325 sizes; cylindrical cells in D and 32650 sizes; prismatic cells of proprietary design, and pouch cells and batteries. Also, we can assemble certain chemistries in D, AA and AAA cylindrical cell configurations. For individual electrode studies we possess unique flooded design cells, capable of applying very large current densities on the order of 20+ mA/cm2.
Noteworthy is AETC’s welding equipment, which includes spot, pulse arc, and ultrasonic welders.
AETC’s powdered materials characterization equipment is abundant. On daily basis we use Scott volumeter, tap density (Autotap), scratch and tape adhesion testers, BET surface area (Monosorb and NOVA, Quantachrome Instruments, Inc.), laser particle size analyzer (Microtrac S3500 and Horiba LA-910), Tyler Rotap sieve shakers (12” and 8” models), moisture, volatile, loss on ignition, four-point resistivity, and other industry standard tests.
The wet lab of AETC has 10 types of high shear and propeller-type mixers, a Brookfield viscometer, weight per gallon tester, draw-down and calendaring machines, etc. We have a reasonably good ultrasound probe, which breaks down aggregates dispersed in carrier liquid down to some 500 nm.
Mechanical properties of our materials are determined using tensile strength, puncture and laceration methods. Compacts and shapes are being manufactured in three of our hydraulic presses (Carver, Inc). We have a great variety of molds and dies to support our compaction work.
In the conduct of our developmental projects, we often rely on our partners from academia. Some of them are proudly listed below:
- A.J. Drexel University of Philadelphia, PA,
- Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA,
- University of Illinois at Chicago,
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
- Clemson University, Clemson, SC,
- University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN,
- Navajo Technical University, Crownpoint, NM,
- University of Massachusetts-Boston,
- Science & Technology Center in Ukraine,
- National Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine,
- Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (Ukraine),
- Kiev National University of Technologies & Design (Ukraine),
- Yuzhnoye State Design Office (Ukraine),
- Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL,
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California,
- Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY.