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Title: Studies on the thermal breakdown of common Li-ion battery electrolyte components

While much attention is paid to the impact of the active materials on the catastrophic failure of lithium ion batteries, much of the severity of a battery failure is also governed by the electrolytes used, which are typically flammable themselves and can decompose during battery failure. The use of LiPF6 salt can be problematic as well, not only catalyzing electrolyte decomposition, but also providing a mechanism for HF production. This work evaluates the safety performance of the common components ethylene carbonate (EC), diethyl carbonate (DEC), dimethyl carbonate (DMC), and ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) in the context of the gasses produced during thermal decomposition, looking at both the quantity and composition of the vapor produced. EC and DEC were found to be the largest contributors to gas production, both producing upwards of 1.5 moles of gas/mole of electrolyte. DMC was found to be relatively stable, producing very little gas regardless of the presence of LiPF6. EMC was stable on its own, but the addition of LiPF6 catalyzed decomposition of the solvent. As a result, while gas analysis did not show evidence of significant quantities of any acutely toxic materials, the gasses themselves all contained enough flammable components to potentially ignite inmore » air.« less
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  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651; 606215
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of the Electrochemical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 162; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
The Electrochemical Society
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Vehicle Technologies Program (EE-2G)
Country of Publication:
United States
25 ENERGY STORAGE electrolyte; gas generation; lithium ion battery; safety; thermal breakdown; thermal runaway