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Chronoamperometry as an electrochemical in situ approach to investigate the electrolyte wetting process of lithium-ion cells

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Abstract

Understanding and optimizing the electrolyte wetting of lithium-ion cells provides a high potential to reduce the manufacturing costs of lithium-ion cells. However, established methods to investigate the wetting of porous materials are not easily transferable to lithium-ion cells, since they neglect major paths in the wetting process. In this study, a novel method is proposed to in situ quantify the wetting progress in lithium-ion cells with graphite-based anodes. A constant potential is applied to the cell immediately after the electrolyte wetting process has been initiated and the current response is carefully analyzed as it reflects the progress of the electrolyte wetting process accompanied by SEI film formation. By applying this procedure, the influence of different separators, cell formats and ambient temperatures on the wetting time is investigated. Furthermore, the wetting behavior of laser-structured electrodes is investigated as well as of electrodes with ceramic multilayer coating which can replace the standard separator. The results demonstrate that the interface between the separator and the electrodes plays a dominant role and mainly influences the wetting process of a lithium-ion cell. The findings point out the importance of using in situ methods to analyze the wetting process of lithium-ion cells.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In Fig. 6hmax is the longest dimension of the pouch bag cell. To find hmax, we assume that the electrolyte is penetrating the cell homogeneously from all four edges. This is realistic as the capillary tubes between cell stack and pouch bag foil are filled with electrolyte quickly and the capillary diameter for those is much bigger than the capillary diameters expected in the electrode stack. This is also supported by the measurements of Weydanz et al. in [5]. Therefore, hmax is defined as half the length of the anode, which is 25 mm for the standard cell dimension.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie) for financial support for the project 'Optilyt' (18380 BR/1) within the framework of the 'Co-operative Industrial Research' initiative IGF (Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung). Furthermore, the authors thank Beate Capraro, Stefan Börner and Adrian Goldberg for providing the modified electrodes.

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Correspondence to Sebastian Reuber.

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Peter, C., Nikolowski, K., Reuber, S. et al. Chronoamperometry as an electrochemical in situ approach to investigate the electrolyte wetting process of lithium-ion cells. J Appl Electrochem 50, 295–309 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10800-019-01383-2

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Keywords

  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Electrolyte wetting
  • Lucas-Washburn
  • Wettability
  • Chronoamperometry