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  1. Abstract

    Silicon is regarded as one of the most promising anode materials for lithium-ion batteries. Its high theoretical capacity (4000 mAh/g) has the potential to meet the demands of high-energy density applications, such as electric air and ground vehicles. The volume expansion of Si during lithiation is over 300%, indicating its promise as a large strain electrochemical actuator. A Si-anode battery is multifunctional, storing electrical energy and actuating through volume change by lithium-ion insertion.

    To utilize the property of large volume expansion, we design, fabricate, and test two types of Si anode cantilevers with bi-directional actuation: (a) bimorph actuator andmore »(b) insulated double unimorph actuator. A transparent battery chamber is fabricated, provided with NCM cathodes, and filled with electrolyte. The relationship between state of charge and electrode deformation is measured using current integration and high-resolution photogrammetry, respectively. The electrochemical performance, including voltage versus capacity and Coulombic efficiency versus cycle number, is measured for several charge/discharge cycles. Both configurations exhibit deflections in two directions and can store energy. In case (a), the largest deflection is roughly 35% of the cantilever length. Twisting and unexpected bending deflections are observed in this case, possibly due to back-side lithiation, non-uniform coating thickness, and uneven lithium distribution. In case (b), the single silicon active coating layer can deflect 12 passive layers.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 14, 2022
  2. Abstract

    Silicon anodes have been demonstrated to provide significant actuation in addition to energy storage in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). This work studies the optimization of 1D unimorph and bimorph actuators to achieve a target shape upon actuation. A 1D shape matching with design optimization is used to estimate the varied charge distribution along the length for a LIB actuator and thereby the effect of distance between electrodes in charging.

    A genetic algorithm (GA) is used with actuation strain distribution as the design variable. The objective of the optimization is to shape-match by minimizing the shape error between a target shapemore »and actuated shape, both defined by several points along the length.

    The approach is experimentally validated by shape matching a notched unimorph target shape. A shape error of 1.5% is obtained. An optimized unimorph converges to an objective function of less than 0.029% of the length at full state of charge (SOC) for a 5-segment beam.

    A second shape matching case study using a bimorph is investigated to showcase the tailorability of LIB actuators. The optimal bimorph achieves an objective function of less than 0.23% of the length for a design variable set of top and bottom actuation strain of an 8-segment beam. The actuated shape nearly matches the target shape by simultaneously activating top and bottom active layers to achieve the same differential actuation strain (the difference between top and bottom active layer actuation strain).

    The results show that a bimorph actuator can achieve a given shape while also storing significantly more charge than is necessary to maintain a given complex shape. This demonstrates a strength of energy storage based actuators: excess energy can be stored within the actuator and can be expended without affecting the work done or the shape maintained by the actuator.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 14, 2022