Modeling Chemo-Mechanics with Electrolyte Infiltration to Quantify Degradation of Cathode Particles

Jeffery Allen, Peter Weddle, Ankit Verma, Anudeep Mallarapu, Francois Usseglio-Viretta, Donal Finegan, Andrew Colclasure, Weijie Mai, Volker Schmidt, Orkun Furat, David Diercks, Tanvir Tanim, Kandler Smith

Research output: NRELPresentation


One of the main goals in modeling lithium-ion batteries is to improve/predict longevity and resilience of new chemistries. To that end, this talk investigates the formation of stress-induced fracture within polycrystalline cathode particles and the impact on capacity loss. Physically based cathode aging dynamics is simulated in a 3D, continuum-level chemo-mechanical model. The model captures anisotropic Li diffusion within a single polycrystalline particle comprised of hundreds to thousands of randomly oriented grains. A recent addition to this model includes electrolyte infiltration, which occurs when the electrolyte seeps into surface cracks within the particle. The model predicts that particle fracture is primarily due to non-ideal grain interactions with slight dependence on high-rate charge demands. Essentially, when neighboring grains are misaligned, they expand a different rates relative to one another leading to high stresses and ultimately the formation of intraparticle cracks. The model predicts that small particles with large grains develop significantly less damage than larger particles with small grains. Finally, the model predicts most of the chemo-mechanical damage accumulates in the first charge after formation. This chemo-mechanical "damage saturation" effect indicates that initial particle fracture occurs within the first few cycles, while long-term cathode degradation is not solely chemo-mechanically induced. The principle contribution of this research is the use of an anisotropic chemo-mechanical model to test how particle geometry affect capacity fade, which predicts that particle size has a stronger effect on capacity fade than grain size and ultimately that small particles with large grains have the least capacity fade.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the 19th U.S. National Congress on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 19-24 June 2022, Austin, Texas

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2C00-83018


  • cathode
  • electrochemistry
  • lithium-ion batteries
  • mechanics


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