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[en] Reduction-stable mixed ionic and electronic conductors such as Sr(Ti,Fe)O3-δ (STF) are promising materials for application in anodes of solid oxide fuel cells. The defect chemistry of STF and its properties as solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cathode have been studied thoroughly, while mechanistic investigations of its electrochemical properties as SOFC anode material are still scarce. In this study, thin film model electrodes of STF with 30% and 70% Fe content were investigated in H2+H2O atmosphere by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Lithographically patterned thin film Pt current collectors were applied on top or beneath the STF thin films to compensate for the low electronic conductivity under reducing conditions. Oxygen exchange resistances, electronic and ionic conductivities and chemical capacitances were quantified and discussed in a defect chemical model. Increasing Fe content increases the electro-catalytic activity of the STF surface as well as the electronic and ionic conductivity. Current collectors on top also increase the electrochemical activity due to a highly active Pt-atmosphere-STF triple phase boundary. Furthermore, the electrochemical activity depends decisively on the H2:H2O mixing ratio and the polarization. Lastly, Fe0 nanoparticles may evolve on the surface in hydrogen rich atmospheres and increase the hydrogen adsorption rate.
[en] Binder free (BF) graphite electrodes were utilized to investigate the effect of electrolyte additives fluoroethylene carbonate (FEC) and vinylene carbonate (VC) on the structure of the solid electrolyte interface (SEI). The structure of the SEI has been investigated via ex-situ surface analysis including X-ray Photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Hard XPS (HAXPES), Infrared spectroscopy (IR) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The components of the SEI have been further investigated via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy of D2O extractions. The SEI generated on the BF-graphite anode with a standard electrolyte (1.2 M LiPF6 in ethylene carbonate (EC) / ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC), 3/7 (v/v)) is composed primarily of lithium alkyl carbonates (LAC) and LiF. Incorporation of VC (3% wt) results in the generation of a thinner SEI composed of Li2CO3, poly(VC), LAC, and LiF. Incorporation of VC inhibits the generation of LAC and LiF. Incorporation of FEC (3% wt) also results in the generation of a thinner SEI composed of Li2CO3, poly(FEC), LAC, and LiF. The concentration of poly(FEC) is lower than the concentration of poly(VC) and the generation of LAC is inhibited in the presence of FEC. The SEI appears to be a homogeneous film for all electrolytes investigated.
[en] A simple procedure has been developed to create palladium (Pd) films on the surface of several common polymers used in commercial fused deposition modeling (FDM) and stereolithography (SLA) based three-dimensional (3D) printing by an electroless deposition process. The procedure can be performed at room temperature, with equipment less expensive than many 3D printers, and occurs rapidly enough to achieve full coverage of the film within a few minutes. 3D substrates composed of dense logpile or cubic lattices with part sizes in the mm to cm range, and feature sizes as small as 150 μm were designed and printed using commercially available 3D printers. The deposition procedure was successfully adapted to show full coverage in the lattice substrates. As a result, the ability to design, print, and metallize highly ordered three-dimensional microscale structures could accelerate development of a range of optimized chemical and mechanical engineering systems.
[en] Nickel-rich layered materials are emerging as cathodes of choice for next-generation high energy density lithium ion batteries intended for electric vehicles. This is because of their higher practical capacities compared to compositions with lower Ni content, as well as the potential for lower raw materials cost. The higher practical capacity of these materials comes at the expense of shorter cycle life, however, due to undesirable structure and chemical transformations, especially at particle surfaces. To understand these changes more fully, the charge compensation mechanism and bulk and surface structural changes of LiNi0.6Mn0.2Co0.2O2 were probed using synchrotron techniques and electron energy loss spectroscopy in this study. In the bulk, both the crystal and electronic structure changes are reversible upon cycling to high voltages, whereas particle surfaces undergo significant reduction and structural reconstruction. While Ni is the major contributor to charge compensation, Co and O (through transition metal-oxygen hybridization) are also redox active. An important finding from depth-dependent transition metal L-edge and O K-edge X-ray spectroscopy is that oxygen redox activity exhibits depth-dependent characteristics. In conclusion, this likely drives the structural and chemical transformations observed at particle surfaces in Ni-rich materials.
[en] The internal structure of a porous electrode strongly influences battery performance. Understanding the dynamics of electrode slurry drying could aid in engineering electrodes with desired properties. For instance, one might monitor the dynamic, spatially-varying thickness near the edge of a slurry coating, as it should lead to non-uniform thickness of the dried film. This work examines the dynamic behavior of drying slurry drops consisting of SiO x and carbon black particles in a solution of carboxymethylcellulose and deionized water, as an experimental model of drying behavior near the edge of a slurry coating. An X-ray radiography-based procedure is developed to calculate the evolving spatial distribution of active material particles from images of the drying slurry drops. To the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to use radiography to investigate battery slurry drying, as well as the first to determine particle distributions from radiography images of drying suspensions. The dynamic results are consistent with tomography reconstructions of the static, fully-dried films. It is found that active material particles can rapidly become non-uniformly distributed within the drops. Heating can promote distribution uniformity, but seemingly must be applied very soon after slurry deposition. Higher slurry viscosity is found to strongly restrain particle redistribution.
[en] Mechanical abuse of lithium-ion batteries is widely used during testing to induce thermal runaway, characterize associated risks, and expose cell and module vulnerabilities. But, the repeatability of puncture or 'nail penetration' tests is a key issue as there is often a high degree of variability in the resulting thermal runaway process. Here, the failure mechanisms of 18650 cells punctured at different locations and orientations are characterized with respect to their internal structural degradation, and both their internal and surface temperature, all of which are monitored in real time. The initiation and propagation of thermal runaway is visualized via high-speed synchrotron X-ray radiography at 2000 frames per second, and the surface and internal temperatures are recorded via infrared imaging and a thermocouple embedded in the tip of the penetrating nail, respectively. The influence of the nail, as well as how and where it penetrates the cell, on the initiation and propagation of thermal runaway is described and the suitability of this test method for representing in-field failures is discussed.
[en] Galvanostatic intermittent titration technique (GITT) - a popular method for characterizing kinetic and transport properties of battery electrodes - is predicated on the proper evaluation of electrode active area. LiNi0.5044Co0.1986Mn0.2970O2 (NCM523) material exhibits a complex morphology in which sub-micron primary particles aggregate to form secondary particle agglomerates. Our work proposes a new active area formulation for primary/secondary particle agglomerate materials to better mimic the morphology of NCM532 electrodes. Furthermore, this formulation is then coupled with macro-homogeneous models to simulate GITT and half-cell performance of NCM523 electrodes. Subsequently, the model results are compared against the experimental results to refine the area formulation. A single parameter, the surface roughness factor, is proposed to mimic the change in interfacial area, diffusivity and exchange current density simultaneously and detailed modeling results are presented to provide valuable insights into the efficacy of the formulation.