Study on the Carbon Nanostructures for Nanosized Si Electrodes

Jae Ho Kim, Nathan Neale, G. Michael Carroll, Gregory Pach

Research output: NRELPoster


Silicon (Si) has been considered as a next-generation anode material due to natural abundance, low operating potential (<0.5 V vs. Li/Li+), and high theoretical specific capacity of 4200 mAh g-1.[1] However, the electrochemical alloying reaction of Si involves large volume changes of 400% during lithiation and delithiation, causing cracking and pulverization of Si.[1] In addition, solid electrolyte interface (SEI) of Si anode experiences constant changes due to unstable SEI reactivity.[2] Considerable efforts have been made to design nanostructured Si materials to address the issues because nanostructuring can relieve the mechanical strain.[3] However, when compared to micrometer-sized active materials having sufficient electrolyte pathway through interparticle space, the nanoparticle (NP)-based electrodes tend to be densely packed. As mass loading is higher and electrode is thicker, ion transport issue can become more severe in the densely packed electrodes.[4] In this work, we will present studies on engineered porosity impacts performance in Si NP electrodes by altering carbon nanostructures. We explore the extreme limit of effectively non-porous electrodes using quasi-spherical, Si NPs, which result in densely packed electrodes when slurry is prepared with conventional carbon black. We engineer porosity using carbon nanostructures including multi-walled carbon nanotubes and carbon nanorods in place of conventional carbon black to create pore structure in Si NP-based electrodes. These experiments provide a correlation between mass loading, porosity and silicon utilization in Si NP-based electrodes. References: [1] C. K. Chan, H. Peng, G. Liu, K. Mcllwrath, X. F. Zhang, R. A. Huggins, Y. Cui, "High-performance lithium battery anodes using silicon nanowires", Nat. Nanotechnol., 2008, 3, 31, [2] J. D. McBrayer, M.-T. F. Rodrigues, M. C. Schulze, D. P. Abraham, C. A. Apblett, I. Bloom, G. M. Carroll, A. M. Coclasure, C. Fang, K. L. Harrison, G. Liu, S. D. Minteer, N. R. Neale, G. M. Veith, C. S. Johnson, J. T. Vaughey, A. K. Burrel, B. Cunningham, "Calendar aging of silicon-containing batteries", Nat. Energy, 2021, 6, 1164, [3] H. Wu, G. Zheng, N. Liu, T. J. Carney, Y. Yang, Y. Cui, "Engineering Empty space between Si Nanoparticles for Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes", Nano Lett., 2012, 12, 904, [4] X. Zhang, Z. Ju, Y. Zhu, K. J. Takeuchi, E. S. Takeuchi, A. C. Marschilok, G. Yu, "Multiscale Understanding and Architecture Design of High Energy/Power Lithium-Ion Battery Electrodes", Adv. Energy Mater., 2021, 11, 2000808
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the 243rd Electrochemical Society (ECS) Meeting, 28 May - 2 June 2023, Boston, Massachusetts

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5900-85919


  • carbon nanostructure
  • electrical connectivity
  • electrode porosity
  • lithium-ion batteries
  • silicon anode


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