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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  2. Cathode materials for Li-ion batteries exhibit volume expansions on the order of 10% upon maximum lithium insertion. As a result internal stresses are produced and after continuous electrochemical cycling damage accumulates, which contributes to their failure. Battery developers resort to using smaller particle sizes in order to limit damage and some models have been developed to capture the effect of particle size on damage. In this paper, we present a gradient elasticity framework, which couples the mechanical equilibrium equations with Li-ion diffusion and allows the Young’s modulus to be a function of Li-ion concentration. As the constitutive equation involves higher order gradient terms, the conventional finite element method is not suitable, while, the two-way coupling necessitates the need for higher order shape functions. In this study, we employ B-spline functions with the framework of the iso-geometric analysis for the spatial discretization. The effect of the internal characteristic length on the concentration evolution and the hydrostatic stresses is studied. It is observed that the stress amplitude is significantly affected by the internal length, however, using either a constant Young’s modulus or a concentration dependent one yields similar results.
  3. A concentration-gradient composition is proposed as an effective approach to solve the mechanical degradation and improve the electrochemical cyclability for cathodes of sodium-ion batteries. Concentration-gradient shell NaxNiyMn1-yFe(CN)6·nH2O, in which the Ni content gradually increases from the interior to the particle surface, is synthesized by a facile co-precipitation process. The as-obtained cathode exhibits an improved electrochemical performance compared to homogeneous NaxMnFe(CN)6·nH2O, delivering a high reversible specific capacity of 110 mA h g-1 at 0.2 C and outstanding cycling stability (93% retention after 1000 cycles at 5 C). The improvement of electrochemical performance can be attributed to its robust microstructure that effectively alleviates the electrochemically induced stresses and accumulated damage during sodiation/desodiation and thus prevents the initiation of fracture in the particles upon long term cycling. These findings render a prospective strategy to develop high-performance electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries.
  4. A concentration-gradient composition is proposed as an effective approach to solve the mechanical degradation and improve the electrochemical cyclability for cathodes of sodium-ion batteries. Concentration-gradient shell NaxNiyMn1-yFe(CN)6·nH2O, in which the Ni content gradually increases from the interior to the particle surface, is synthesized by a facile co-precipitation process. The as-obtained cathode exhibits an improved electrochemical performance compared to homogeneous NaxMnFe(CN)6·nH2O, delivering a high reversible specific capacity of 110 mA h g-1 at 0.2 C and outstanding cycling stability (93% retention after 1000 cycles at 5 C). The improvement of electrochemical performance can be attributed to its robust microstructure that effectively alleviates the electrochemically induced stresses and accumulated damage during sodiation/desodiation and thus prevents the initiation of fracture in the particles upon long term cycling. These findings render a prospective strategy to develop high-performance electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries.