Lithium-Ion Battery Development
Lithium-ion batteries are so useful in modern technologies because this process of charging and discharging may be repeated many times – often thousands of cycles. One key area of ongoing research into lithium-ion batteries focuses on finding ways to reduce aging and degradation of the batteries that inevitably occurs after a large amount of cycling. This centers around finding better ways of constructing the battery structures, improving thermal management, optimizing operational procedures, or developing new materials (the elemental composition of the cathode materials are clearly complicated!).
These facets of battery research apply not only to the aging problem, but to a wide number of questions related to battery design: efficiency, power, size, weight, and cost. All of these factors must be simultaneously considered when developing a new battery for the consumer market, and they are one reason why there is still so much more to learn and to improve.
Modelling Batteries with COMSOL Multiphysics
Batteries are very complex electrochemical systems. How well – or even if – a battery functions depends on the answers to a number of questions, including but not limited to:
- How is charge transported in the electrodes and electrolytes?
- How much heat is generated, and how does it affect electrochemistry?
- Can heat caused by reactions be effectively removed from the battery?
- How should one describe the electrochemical kinetics, which depends on electrode materials, electrode structure (porous or solid), dissolved ions, temperature, ion concentration?
- How do the battery materials physically age after repeated cycling, and how does that affect electronic performance?
- Is the manufacturing process reliable and cost-effective?