Particular functional nanocomposite materials can be employed as electrodes and/or as electrodes in energy storage systems to improve performance. In one example, the nanocomposite material is characterized by nanoparticles having a high-capacity active material, a core particle having a comminution material, and a thin electronically conductive coating having an electronically conductive material. The nanoparticles are fixed between the core particle and the conductive coating. The comminution material has a Mohs hardness that is greater than that of the active material. The core particle has a diameter less than 5000 nm and the nanoparticles have diameters less than 500 nm.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0576RLO1830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.