Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 7, pp 5682–5694 | Cite as

Sedimentation of lithium–iron–phosphate and carbon black particles in opaque suspensions used for lithium-ion-battery electrodes

  • R. BalbiererEmail author
  • R. Gordon
  • S. Schuhmann
  • N. Willenbacher
  • H. Nirschl
  • G. Guthausen
Energy materials


Sedimentation of opaque suspensions of carbon black and lithium–iron–phosphate was investigated by spin-echo-based magnetic resonance imaging. Optical methods are usually applied to determine settling velocities, but are limited with respect to high concentrations and optical transparency. The presented method uses intensity data from the noninvasively measured magnetic resonance signal of the sample. The settling velocity is obtained from the evolution of the signal intensity profiles based on the contrast in 1H magnetic resonance imaging between particles and liquid. New insights into the sedimentation in opaque suspensions are provided, since the 1H images uncover the spatial distribution of the particles and its agglomerates, as well as the shape of the settling front. Additionally, the sedimentation was experimentally studied using a sedimentation balance, which gravimetrically measures the increase in mass fraction over time due to the settling of particles. By parallel usage of these two methods, the sedimentation processes of opaque suspensions of lithium-ion-battery electrode materials were investigated. The sedimentation balance covers high, technically relevant concentrations. Limiting factors of the methods are discussed, which are mainly signal intensity in the magnetic resonance imaging and the increasing viscosity of highly concentrated suspensions.



The authors would like to thank the German Research Foundation (DFG) for financial support of the instrumental facility Pro2NMR. Furthermore, the authors thank the DFG for funding and the cooperative support within GRK 2218 SiMET—Simulation of mechano-electro-thermal processes in lithium-ion-batteries, project number: 281041241). R. Gordon gratefully acknowledges financial support by the 100 prozent erneuerbar Stiftung.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Mechanical Process Engineering and MechanicsKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Chair of Water Chemistry and Water TechnologyKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany

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