H.J. Walls, M.W. Riley, R.R. Singhal, R.J. Spontak, P.S. Fedkiw and S.A. Khan
A passive filler, hydrophobic fumed silica (see Figure, left), and an active filler, lithium-exchanged hectorite (Figure, right), are compared for use in nanocomposite electrolytes for rechargeable Li batteries. With the former, mechanical and electrical properties are decoupled, whereas with the latter, these properties are coupled. Both fillers self-assemble within the nanocomposite to form an interconnected network that provides structural strength.