Study identifies main culprit behind lithium metal battery failure

phys.org | 4/24/2019 | Staff
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A research team led by the University of California San Diego has discovered the root cause of why lithium metal batteries fail—bits of lithium metal deposits break off from the surface of the anode during discharging and are trapped as "dead" or inactive lithium that the battery can no longer access.

The discovery, published Aug. 21 in Nature, challenges the conventional belief that lithium metal batteries fail because of the growth of a layer, called the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI), between the lithium anode and the electrolyte. The researchers made their discovery by developing a technique to measure the amounts of inactive lithium species on the anode—a first in the field of battery research—and studying their micro- and nanostructures.

Findings - Way - Lithium - Metal - Batteries

The findings could pave the way for bringing rechargeable lithium metal batteries from the lab to the market.

"By figuring out the major underlying cause of lithium metal battery failure, we can rationally come up with new strategies to solve the problem," said first author Chengcheng Fang, a materials science and engineering Ph.D. student at UC San Diego. "Our ultimate goal is to enable a commercially viable lithium metal battery."

Lithium - Metal - Batteries - Anodes - Lithium

Lithium metal batteries, which have anodes made of lithium metal, are an essential part of the next generation of battery technologies. They promise twice the energy density of today's lithium-ion batteries (which usually have anodes made of graphite), so they could last longer and weigh less. This could potentially double the range of electric vehicles.

But a major issue with lithium metal batteries is low Coulombic efficiency, meaning they undergo a limited number of cycles before they stop working. That's because as the battery cycles, its stores of active lithium and electrolyte get depleted.

Battery - Researchers - Growth - Electrolyte - Interphase

Battery researchers have long suspected that this is due to the growth of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer between the anode and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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