Interfacial Pressure Improves Calendar Aging of Lithium Metal Anodes

Katharine Harrison, Kimberly Bassett, Kathryn Small, Daniel Long, Laura Merrill, Benjamin Warren

Research output: NRELPresentation


Lithium metal is a very attractive anode material because its theoretical specific capacity is approximately 10 times higher than conventional graphite anodes. Despite great promise, Li anodes suffer from capacity fade due to instabilities with the electrolyte as well as stranding of active Li. We have previously shown that applied interfacial pressure improves Li anode cycling because the pressure reduces the propensity for Li isolation and enables easier reconnection. Many researchers have also shown that calendar aging can lead to Li capacity loss and this has been attributed to either electrolyte decomposition with concurrent Li corrosion or to the formation of stranded Li. Our prior research focused on calendar aging during cycling suggests the mechanism for calendar aging is largely related to stranding of Li during rest and reconnection of the stranded Li upon further cycling, evidenced by similar average Coulombic efficiencies and Li loss in cells with and without rest. Because our calendar aging studies suggest Li stranding as a major cause of Coulombic efficiency drops and our Li cycling studies suggest this can be mitigated partially through applied interfacial pressure, we hypothesized that applied pressure would improve calendar aging by reducing stranded Li and enabling reconnection. We systematically varied applied pressure (0-1000 kPa) on Li metal anodes during cycling tests with and without intermittent calendar aging periods. Though the Coulombic efficiency decreases during aging periods, the lost capacity is recovered during subsequent cycles, as shown though average Coulombic efficiency and cumulative Li capacity loss analysis. We find that application of pressure partially mitigates calendar aging, in accordance with our hypothesis that calendar aging is caused by Li standing and can be mitigated to some degree with interfacial pressure. This is further supported by our results showing that the average Coulombic efficiency and cumulative Li capacity losses are similar over 50 cycles for cells that were continuously cycled and cells with periodic calendar aging periods. This result indicates that the losses during aging are reversible, which is consistent with Li stranding and reconnection. We show that pressure is one mitigation technique that helps reduce Li calendar aging in this study, but our finding that calendar aging is primarily governed by the stranding and reconnection of dead Li has wider implications. This research suggests that other mitigations which have been shown to prevent dead Li formation or encourage reconnection during cycling would also likely be successful for the purpose of improving calendar aging. The authors were supported by a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. This work was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology & Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC (NTESS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) under contract DE-NA0003525. This written work is authored by an employee of NTESS. The employee, not NTESS, owns the right, title and interest in and to the written work and is responsible for its contents. This work was authored in part by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, operated by Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308. Any subjective views or opinions that might be expressed in the written work do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Government.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages29
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NamePresented at the Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting and Exhibit, 22-26 April 2024, Seattle, Washington

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5K00-89685


  • applied pressure
  • batteries
  • calendar aging
  • coatings
  • lithium metal anode


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