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Title: The Science of Battery Degradation

This report documents work that was performed under the Laboratory Directed Research and Development project, Science of Battery Degradation. The focus of this work was on the creation of new experimental and theoretical approaches to understand atomistic mechanisms of degradation in battery electrodes that result in loss of electrical energy storage capacity. Several unique approaches were developed during the course of the project, including the invention of a technique based on ultramicrotoming to cross-section commercial scale battery electrodes, the demonstration of scanning transmission x-ray microscopy (STXM) to probe lithium transport mechanisms within Li-ion battery electrodes, the creation of in-situ liquid cells to observe electrochemical reactions in real-time using both transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and STXM, the creation of an in-situ optical cell utilizing Raman spectroscopy and the application of the cell for analyzing redox flow batteries, the invention of an approach for performing ab initio simulation of electrochemical reactions under potential control and its application for the study of electrolyte degradation, and the development of an electrochemical entropy technique combined with x-ray based structural measurements for understanding origins of battery degradation. These approaches led to a number of scientific discoveries. Using STXM we learned that lithium iron phosphate battery cathodesmore » display unexpected behavior during lithiation wherein lithium transport is controlled by nucleation of a lithiated phase, leading to high heterogeneity in lithium content at each particle and a surprising invariance of local current density with the overall electrode charging current. We discovered using in-situ transmission electron microscopy that there is a size limit to lithiation of silicon anode particles above which particle fracture controls electrode degradation. From electrochemical entropy measurements, we discovered that entropy changes little with degradation but the origin of degradation in cathodes is kinetic in nature, i.e. lower rate cycling recovers lost capacity. Finally, our modeling of electrode-electrolyte interfaces revealed that electrolyte degradation may occur by either a single or double electron transfer process depending on thickness of the solid-electrolyte-interphase layer, and this cross-over can be modeled and predicted.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States). Materials Physics
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States). Power Sources Design and Development
  3. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States). Nanosystems Synthesis/Analysis
  4. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States). Combustion Chemistry Dept.
  5. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States). Power Sources Research and Development
  6. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States). Nanostructure Physics
  7. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States). Hydrogen and Combustion Technology
  8. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States). Chemical and Biological Systems
  9. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States). Advanced Materials Lab.
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States); Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States