Formation of Surface Impurities on Lithium–Nickel–Manganese–Cobalt Oxides in the Presence of CO2 and H2O

Zongtang Fang, Matthew P. Confer, Yixiao Wang, Qiang Wang, M. Ross Kunz, Eric J. Dufek, Boryann Liaw, Tonya M. Klein, David A. Dixon, and Rebecca Fushimi

July 2021 - Surface impurities involving parasitic reactions and gas evolution contribute to the degradation of high Ni content LiNixMnyCozO2 (NMC) cathode materials. The transient kinetic technique of temporal analysis of products (TAP), density functional theory, and infrared spectroscopy have been used to study the formation of surface impurities on varying nickel content NMC materials (NMC811, NMC622, NMC532, NMC433, NMC111) in the presence of CO2 and H2O. CO2 reactivity on a clean surface as characterized by CO2 conversion rate in the TAP reactor follows the order: NMC811 > NMC622 > NMC532 > NMC433 > NMC111. The capacity of CO2 uptake follows a different order: NMC532 > NMC433 > NMC622 > NMC811 > NMC111. Moisture pretreatment slows down the direct CO2 adsorption process and creates additional active sites for CO2 adsorption. Electronic structure calculations predict that the (012) surface is more reactive than the (1014) surface for CO2 and H2O adsorption. CO2 adsorption leading to carbonate formation is exothermic with formation of ion pairs. The average CO2 binding energies on the different materials follow the CO2 reactivity order. Water hydroxylates the (012) surface and surface OH groups favor bicarbonate formation. Water creates more active sites for CO2 adsorption on the (1014) surface due to hydrogen bonding. The composition of surface impurities formed in ambient air exposure is dependent on water concentration and the percentage of different crystal planes. Different surface reactivities suggest that battery performance degradation due to surface impurities can be mitigated by precise control of the dominant surfaces in NMC materials.

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