An experimental and modeling study of sodium-ion battery electrolytes

Kudakwashe Chayambuka, Ruth Cardinaels, Kevin L. Gering, L. Raijmakers, Grietus Mulder, Dmitri L.Danilov, Peter H. L. Notten

December 2021 - Electrolytes play an integral role in the successful operation of any battery chemistry. The reemergence of the sodium-ion battery (SIB) chemistry has therefore rejuvenated the search for optimized SIB salts and solvents. Recent experiments have found that 1 M in ethylene carbonate (EC) and propylene carbonate (PC), (w/w) is the best binary electrolyte for SIBs. However, mathematical models, to elucidate these experimental findings, have so far been lacking. Furthermore, no attempts to understand the effect of EC composition on the conductivity and electrolyte stability have been performed. Herein, the viscosity and conductivity profiles of in electrolyte are unraveled, using experimental and modeling approaches at different temperatures and salt concentrations. The viscosity is measured in a double-wall Couette cell and for the first time, the ionic conductivity is determined using two Pt blocking electrodes in a PAT-Cell electrochemical setup. Modeling is performed using the Advanced Electrolyte Model (AEM), a statistical mechanics software. It is shown that the conductivity and viscosity relationship follows a simple Stokes' law even at a low temperatures and high concentrations. In addition, the stability of binary and ternary electrolytes on hard carbon is shown to correlate with the preferential ion solvation of EC.

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