skip to main content

Title: Low‐Temperature Behavior of Alloy Anodes for Lithium‐Ion Batteries

Lithium‐ion batteries (LIBs) show poor performance at temperatures below 0 °C due to sluggish reaction kinetics, hindered diffusion, and electrolyte freezing. Materials that alloy with lithium offer higher specific capacity than graphite anodes and are studied extensively at room temperature, but their low‐temperature behavior is not well understood. Here, the electrochemical and transformation behavior of three alloy materials (antimony, silicon, and tin) are investigated. It is shown that antimony is particularly well suited for low‐temperature applications due to its relatively high electrode potential and promising electrochemical stability at low temperatures. It is found that lithium‐antimony alloys can be cycled down to −40 °C with ten times higher specific capacity than graphite on the first cycle. The galvanostatic intermittent titration technique is used to understand the kinetic and thermodynamic limitations of these electrode materials at low temperatures, and X‐ray diffraction shows that electrochemical phase transformation behavior is also altered at low temperatures. Finally, it is found that the use of reference electrodes is necessary at low temperatures to avoid counter electrode effects. This investigative study provides new understanding of the behavior of alloy anodes at low temperatures and reveals the need for electrode/electrolyte optimization to enable low‐temperature LIBs.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Energy Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Since their commercialization by Sony in 1991, graphite anodes in combination with various cathodes have enabled the widespread success of lithium‐ion batteries (LIBs), providing over 10 billion rechargeable batteries to the global population. Next‐generation nonaqueous alkali metal‐ion batteries, namely sodium‐ion batteries (SIBs) and potassium‐ion batteries (PIBs), are projected to utilize intercalation‐based carbon anodes as well, due to their favorable electrochemical properties. While traditionally graphite anodes have dominated the market share of LIBs, other carbon materials have been investigated, including graphene, carbon nanotubes, and disordered carbons. The relationship between carbon material properties, electrochemical performance, and charge storage mechanisms is clarified for these alkali metal‐ion batteries, elucidating possible strategies for obtaining enhanced cycling stability, specific capacity, rate capability, and safety aspects. As a key component in determining cell performance, the solid electrolyte interphase layer is described in detail, particularly for its dependence on the carbon anode. Finally, battery safety at extreme temperatures is discussed, where carbon anodes are susceptible to dendrite formation, accelerated aging, and eventual thermal runaway. As society pushes toward higher energy density LIBs, this review aims to provide guidance toward the development of sustainable next‐generation SIBs and PIBs.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Aluminum is an attractive candidate for replacing graphite anodes in lithium‐ion batteries because of its high specific capacity and the potential for direct use as foil. However, achieving reversible reaction of aluminum is challenging due to volume changes, SEI formation, and sluggish ion transport. Although prior work has investigated electrochemical transformation behavior of aluminum, the effects of key variables, including areal capacity per cycle and alloy composition, are not well understood. Here, we carry out comprehensive electrochemical testing to benchmark the performance of two different aluminum foils (99.999 % Al and Al 8111). We find that for constant thickness, both foil compositions exhibit a power‐law dependence of cycle life on the lithiated areal capacity per cycle, revealing that degradation is significantly more rapid at higher areal capacities. This behavior is interpreted as an “electrochemical fatigue” mechanism, in analogy to mechanical fatigue. Additionally, the alloy composition was found to strongly affect the Coulombic efficiency (CE), with high‐purity foils exhibiting higher initial CE but reduced long‐term stability. Finally,operandooptical microscopy revealed different spatiotemporal reaction mechanisms amongst the different materials. This improved understanding of aluminum foil anodes paves the way for efforts to engineer aluminum‐based foils with enhanced stability.

    more » « less
  3. Ever-increasing demands for energy, particularly being environmentally friendly have promoted the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.1Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), arguably the most well-studied energy storage system, have dominated the energy market since their advent in the 1990s.2However, challenging issues regarding safety, supply of lithium, and high price of lithium resources limit the further advancement of LIBs for large-scale energy storage applications.3Therefore, attention is being concentrated on an alternative electrochemical energy storage device that features high safety, low cost, and long cycle life. Rechargeable aqueous zinc-ion batteries (ZIBs) is considered one of the most promising alternative energy storage systems due to the high theoretical energy and power densities where the multiple electrons (Zn2+) . In addition, aqueous ZIBs are safer due to non-flammable electrolyte (e.g., typically aqueous solution) and can be manufactured since they can be assembled in ambient air conditions.4As an essential component in aqueous Zn-based batteries, the Zn metal anode generally suffers from the growth of dendrites, which would affect battery performance in several ways. Second, the led by the loose structure of Zn dendrite may reduce the coulombic efficiency and shorten the battery lifespan.5

    Several approaches were suggested to improve the electrochemical stability of ZIBs, such as implementing an interfacial buffer layer that separates the active Zn from the bulk electrolyte.6However, the and thick thickness of the conventional Zn metal foils remain a critical challenge in this field, which may diminish the energy density of the battery drastically. According to a theretical calculation, the thickness of a Zn metal anode with an areal capacity of 1 mAh cm-2is about 1.7 μm. However, existing extrusion-based fabrication technologies are not capable of downscaling the thickness Zn metal foils below 20 μm.

    Herein, we demonstrate a thickness controllable coating approach to fabricate an ultrathin Zn metal anode as well as a thin dielectric oxide separator. First, a 1.7 μm Zn layer was uniformly thermally evaporated onto a Cu foil. Then, Al2O3, the separator was deposited through sputtering on the Zn layer to a thickness of 10 nm. The inert and high hardness Al2O3layer is expected to lower the polarization and restrain the growth of Zn dendrites. Atomic force microscopy was employed to evaluate the roughness of the surface of the deposited Zn and Al2O3/Zn anode structures. Long-term cycling stability was gauged under the symmetrical cells at 0.5 mA cm-2for 1 mAh cm-2. Then the fabricated Zn anode was paired with MnO2as a full cell for further electrochemical performance testing. To investigate the evolution of the interface between the Zn anode and the electrolyte, a home-developed in-situ optical observation battery cage was employed to record and compare the process of Zn deposition on the anodes of the Al2O3/Zn (demonstrated in this study) and the procured thick Zn anode. The surface morphology of the two Zn anodes after circulation was characterized and compared through scanning electron microscopy. The tunable ultrathin Zn metal anode with enhanced anode stability provides a pathway for future high-energy-density Zn-ion batteries.

    Obama, B., The irreversible momentum of clean energy.Science2017,355(6321), 126-129.

    Goodenough, J. B.; Park, K. S., The Li-ion rechargeable battery: a perspective.J Am Chem Soc2013,135(4), 1167-76.

    Li, C.; Xie, X.; Liang, S.; Zhou, J., Issues and Future Perspective on Zinc Metal Anode for Rechargeable Aqueous Zinc‐ion Batteries.Energy & Environmental Materials2020,3(2), 146-159.

    Jia, H.; Wang, Z.; Tawiah, B.; Wang, Y.; Chan, C.-Y.; Fei, B.; Pan, F., Recent advances in zinc anodes for high-performance aqueous Zn-ion batteries.Nano Energy2020,70.

    Yang, J.; Yin, B.; Sun, Y.; Pan, H.; Sun, W.; Jia, B.; Zhang, S.; Ma, T., Zinc Anode for Mild Aqueous Zinc-Ion Batteries: Challenges, Strategies, and Perspectives.Nanomicro Lett2022,14(1), 42.

    Yang, Q.; Li, Q.; Liu, Z.; Wang, D.; Guo, Y.; Li, X.; Tang, Y.; Li, H.; Dong, B.; Zhi, C., Dendrites in Zn-Based Batteries.Adv Mater2020,32(48), e2001854.


    This work was partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Award No. ECCS-1931088. S.L. and H.W.S. acknowledge the support from the Improvement of Measurement Standards and Technology for Mechanical Metrology (Grant No. 22011044) by KRISS.

    Figure 1


    more » « less
  4. Silicon (Si) anodes are promising candidates for Li-ion batteries due to their high specific capacity and low operating potential. Implementation has been challenged by the significant Si volume changes during (de)lithiation and associated growth/regrowth of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI). In this report, fluorinated local high concentration electrolytes (FLHCEs) were designed such that each component of the electrolyte (solvent, salt, diluent) is fluorinated to modify the chemistry and stabilize the SEI of high (30%) silicon content anodes. FLHCEs were formulated to probe the electrolyte salt concentration and ratio of the fluorinated carbonate solvents to a hydrofluoroether diluent. Higher salt concentrations led to higher viscosities, conductivities, and contact angles on polyethylene separators. Electrochemical cycling of Si-graphite/NMC622 pouch cells using the FLHCEs delivered up to 67% capacity retention after 100 cycles at a C/3 rate. Post-cycling X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analyses of the Si-graphite anodes indicated the FLHCEs formed a LiF rich solid electrolyte interphase (SEI). The findings show that the fluorinated local high concentration electrolytes contribute to stabilizing the Si-graphite electrode over extended cycling.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Potassium‐ion batteries (KIBs) are considered more appropriate for grid‐scale storage than lithium‐ion batteries (LIBs) due to similar operating chemistry, abundant precursors, and compatibility with low‐cost graphite anodes. However, a larger ion reduces rate capabilities and exacerbates capacity fading from volumetric expansion. Herein, conductive polymer, poly(3,4‐ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS), is substituted for standard insulating polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). Half‐cells using carbon black (CB) in continuously conductive PEDOT:PSS/CB binder outperforms PVDF/CB by mitigating electrically isolated “dead” graphite, improving 100 cycle capacity retention at C/10 from 63 to 80%. Enhanced electrical contact with PEDOT:PSS/CB also reduces ion impedance and improves rate capabilities. Without CB however, PEDOT:PSS binder performs poorly in electrochemical studies despite promising ex situ electronic conductivity. This discrepancy is mechanistically elucidated through identification of redox activity between PEDOT:PSS and K+which results in high impedances in the anode operating voltage window. Additionally, the impact of conducting binder on mechanical properties and thermal safety of the anode is investigated. Brittleness and poor wettability of PEDOT:PSS are identified as issues, but greater stability against reactive KC8reduces overall heat generation. Binder substitution offers a promising means of mitigating issues with current KIB anodes regardless of active material, and the work herein addresses issues towards further improvement.

    more » « less