An international research team from the United Kingdom and the United States has discovered a method to suppress lithium plating within electric vehicle batteries, potentially enabling faster charging for electric cars.
Researchers suggest that this significant breakthrough could have a crucial impact on the future of electric vehicles, aiding the production of faster-charging, longer-lasting, and safer electric cars. by Dr. Xuekun Lu from Queen Mary University of London, a new study in collaboration with international research teams from the UK and the US has identified a method to prevent lithium plating in electric vehicle batteries, thus reducing charging times.
The research paper was published in the journal Nature Communications. During rapid charging of lithium-ion batteries, lithium plating can occur. This phenomenon happens when lithium ions aggregate on the surface of the negative electrode, forming a growing layer of metallic lithium. This can potentially damage the battery, shorten its lifespan, and lead to short circuits, fires, and explosions.
Dr. Xuekun Lu latest research significantly mitigates the effects of lithium plating by optimizing the microstructure of the graphite negative electrode. The graphite negative electrode consists of randomly distributed tiny particles, and fine-tuning the particle and electrode morphology to achieve uniform reaction activity and reduce local lithium saturation is key to suppressing lithium plating and enhancing battery performance.
The study reveals that the lithiation mechanism of graphite particles varies under different conditions, depending on their surface morphology, size, shape, and orientation. This greatly influences the distribution of lithium and the deposition trends. With the assistance of a groundbreaking 3D battery model, researchers are able to capture the onset time and location of lithium plating, as well as its growth rate. This new research deepens the understanding of the physical processes involved in the redistribution of lithium within graphite particles during rapid charging.
It provides new insights for the development of advanced rapid charging protocols, potentially achieving efficient charging processes while minimizing the risk of lithium plating. In addition to shorter charging times, the study also found that refining the microstructure of the graphite electrode improves the battery’s energy density. This implies that electric vehicles can travel longer distances on a single charge.