Meshfree Methods for Modeling Chemo-Mechanical Cathode Cracking in Li-Ion Batteries

Kristen Susuki

Research output: NRELPoster


Through repeated charging and discharging, the electrodes of a Li-ion battery experience cyclic loading causing swelling and contraction due to the movement of lithium, also known as intercalation. This research focuses specifically on the chemo-mechanical cracking in the cathode. Because cathode particles are comprised of many randomly-oriented grains, which have highly anisotropic material properties, the expansion and contraction is very non-uniform. As a result, stress concentrations tend to form between grains, which necessitates the modeling of crack propagation largely along grain boundaries. Chemo-mechanical models are simulated mainly by two methods: the cohesive zone model (CZM) and the continuous damage model (CDM). The CZM is more accurate at capturing the sharp discontinuities of a crack but is very computationally expensive and intractable for large-scale models as a result. Conversely, the CDM is easily computed but not well-suited to easily allow for discontinuous field variables, which are inherent across a crack. This study aims to improve the CDM's ability to capture discontinuous cracks. Current versions of the CDM use the finite element method (FEM), which is one of the most widely used approaches for spatial discretization. This research investigates the use of the Reproducing Kernel Particle Method (RKPM), a meshfree method, for spatial discretization and aims to achieve a chemo-mechanical crack propagation model that achieves both intermediate accuracy and computational time between a CDM and CZM. To gain a better understanding of how the meshfree model compares to the current FEM model in capturing cathode crack propagation, further investigation is needed.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Initiative Symposium, 2 November 2022, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-2C00-83836


  • cathode cracking
  • Li-ion batteries
  • meshfree methods


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