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Ziyue Dong

Ziyue Dong
Chemical Engineering
Graduation Year:

Name of project:
Reduced Graphene Oxide / Poly (Acrylic Acid) (rGO-PAA) Electrode Architectures for
Lithium-ion Batteries
Faculty supervisor: C. Buddie Mullins, Ph.D

Please give a brief, simplified overview of your research project.
The goal of my project was to investigate and characterize the electrochemical
performance of reduced graphene oxide/poly(acrylic acid) (rGO-PAA) aerogel as a
three-dimensional replacement for conventional metal-foil current collectors used in
lithium-ion battery electrodes. The rGO-PAA electrode architecture offered higher energy
density and improved cycle stability
while still allowing for scalable electrode fabrication using conventional methods.

Describe the tasks you engage in as part of your work.
I engaged in the fabrication, characterization, and testing of electrodes made with the
rGO-PAA architecture. I also participated in the analysis of cell testing data to compare
differences in electrochemical performance from replacing metal-foil current collectors
with rGO-PAA.

Describe what you thought college might be like before you came to UT.
Did you consider research when thinking about college?
I barely thought about research before coming to UT even though it is a huge thing on
our campus. No. I did not consider research before coming to college until my second

How did you get involved with your research project?
After my second year, I began to realize the importance of renewable energy
technologies in maintaining our society’s energy sustainability, as well as my role as a
chemical engineer in driving its progress. So, I approached Dr. Mullins whose group
conduct research on materials chemistry for renewable applications and began this
battery materials project.

Do you see your project connecting with your plans for your future?
Yes. This project enhanced my interest in materials for energy applications and scientific
research in general. In graduate school, I seek to continue developing novel
electrochemical materials for use in renewable energy technologies such as batteries
and fuel cell.

What is the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve gotten to do for this project?
I think the most interesting thing I did on this project is using Scanning Electron
Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) to characterize the
fabricated electrodes. Being able to use this equipment and see the images at the
microscale got me very curious about different material characterization techniques.

What advice would you give to a student who was thinking about research?
Do not be afraid to approach a faculty member about research opportunities! If you’re
not sure what kind of research will fit you, narrow down your focus as much as possible
and learn about your interests through the research! Research is a good way to develop
analytical thinking skills and learn hands-on.