Quantifying the Impact of Charge Rate and Number of Cycles on Structural Degeneration of Li-Ion Battery Electrodes

Orkun Furat, Donal Finegan, Zhenzhen Yang, Tanvir Tanim, Kandler Smith and Volker Schmidt

October 2022 - A quantitative link between crack evolution in lithium-ion positive electrodes and the degrading performance on cells is not yet well established nor is any single technique capable of doing so widely available. Here, we demonstrate a widely accessible high-throughput approach to quantifying crack evolution within electrodes. The approach applies super-resolution scanning electron microscopy imaging of cross-sectioned NMC532 electrodes, followed by segmentation and quantification of crack features. Crack properties such as crack intensity, crack width and length are quantified as a function of charge rate (1C, 6C, and 9C) and cycle number (25, 225, and 600 cycles). Hundreds of particles are characterized for statistical confidence in the quantitative crack measurements. The data on crack evolution is compared to electrochemical data from full cells and half cells with the NMC532 positive electrodes. We show that while crack evolution strongly correlates with capacity fade in the first 25 cycles, it does not correlate well for the following hundreds of cycles indicating that cracking may not be the dominant cause of capacity fade throughout the cycle-life of cells.

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