According to an old proverb, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This proverb is frequently applied to settings other than chains, for example, in the case of a group of climbers chained together as they ascend the snowy Mt. Everest. If one climber is extremely sluggish, the remaining climbers—even the most capable athlete—will have to go at the same pace, hurting the team's ability to summit the peak.
This proverb now applies to the understanding and design of lithium-ion batteries and other battery technologies for electric vehicles and grid applications.
A research group has shared their thoughts on detecting and speeding up the slowest parts in the battery's electrochemical process. Thus, resulting in improved battery system performance. The findings were arrived at whilst studying and constructing the battery. The study is highly relevant for Next-generation Battery Market as the researchers focused on the battery's electrochemistry process or how lithium ions flow across different regions in the battery when power is created.
When developing new materials, electrolytes, or batteries, researchers stated that it's critical to think about a complete loop of ion-electron flow in the cells. Moreover, using electrochemistry to identify the slowest steps is also essential. Then measures to speed up specific steps can be applied to regulate the entire process effectively.
The researchers concentrated on the battery's electrochemistry process. Further, they also looked at the way lithium ions flow through different battery sections as power was generated.
The team added that lithium ions go from one electrode to the other in steps before undergoing an electrochemical reaction. These phases include ion transit within dense and thick electrodes and lithium-ion diffusion in the liquid electrolyte. Further, ions also pass through electrode surface coatings. The slowest stage is determined by various factors, including the materials used and the characteristics of the electrodes.
The researchers used their electrochemistry understanding to better comprehend two alternative lithium-ion battery cell designs in the pouch and cylindrical batteries: high energy and high power. They also looked at how pouch cells and cylinder cells were assembled in battery packs for electric vehicles and grid energy storage.
At last, researchers concluded that both academic research and corporate R&D need to use electrochemistry to identify and address the slowest phases in batteries.
Electrochemistry assists scientists in directly targeting the 'weakest' link in the cell by proposing the right materials in the right spot. Moreover, it also facilitates the industry in designing high-performance batteries that are faster and less expensive to electric power vehicles, grids, and other applications.
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