Rechargeable batteries are key to electric automobiles and the integration of renewable energy. Mechanical degradation of the ceramic electrodes is an issue that causes capacity fade of the battery materials. Despite the steady progress in the battery technology, the understanding of mechanical aging and failure mechanisms lags behind, mostly due to the intrinsic complexity of electroceramic chemistry, structural/compositional heterogeneity, and sensitivity on the environment and operation conditions. This project seeks to elucidate the aging mechanisms of ceramic battery materials. The research creates fundamental knowledge on the material science of batteries via a close integration of novel experimental and modeling approaches. On the education front, the multifaceted collaboration between Purdue University, Virginia Tech, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory provides unique training opportunities for the students in this project. Efforts will continue to encourage underrepresented graduate and undergraduate students to join the project. Outreach efforts in collaboration with the Women in Engineering Program at Purdue University and Destination Areas at Virginia Tech will continue to promote the participation of women in science and engineering.
TECHNICAL DETAILS: The overarching goal of this project is to understand the defect inception, accumulation, and growth at the interface or within the grains, and the inter-relationship of defect-microstructure-performance of Li-ion batteries using the operando synchrotron X-ray analytical techniques, environmental nanoindentation, and data mining. The research effort includes (i) characterizing the local redox reactions, chemical states of matter, and local composition over multiple length scales using synchrotron X-ray analytical techniques, (ii) determining the intragranular and intergranular defect growth and morphological evolution of the nanostructured electrodes by state-of-the-art X-ray tomography and transmission X-ray microscopy, (iii) identifying the dependence of the structural and mechanical degradation of oxide cathodes on the state of charge, charging protocol, and cycling history using in-house-developed environmental nanoindentation, and (iv) identifying the composition-chemistry-morphology correlation through machine learning and data analysis of the library of experimental output.. The research draws a conceptually radical spectrum of the electro-chemo-mechanics and establishes a scientific basis for developing ceramic oxides with resilient electrochemical and mechanical performance.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.