Mathematical Models for Investigation of Performance, Safety, and Aging in Lithium-Ion Batteries
Abstract: Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have both the power and energy capabilities to be utilized in hybrid electric vehicles and other power demanding applications. However, there are obstacles primarily related to reliability in safety and lifetime. Additionally, there is still room for improvement in the battery performance.In this work, physics-based mathematical models have been successfully set-up and numerically solved to investigate performance, safety, and aging in lithium-ion battery systems. This modeling approach enabled a detailed analysis of the electrochemical processes related to these issues. As the models included many parameters and spatial resolution of several variables with time or frequency, strategies for investigation needed to be developed for most of the work. The accuracy of the investigation was consolidated by the utilization of parameters characterized from experimental work.The performance expressed in terms of polarization was determined for a power-optimized battery cell undergoing various operating conditions. A methodology that separated and quantified the contribution of each process to the polarization was set up, allowing the study of the contributions as a snapshot in time and as an average over a cycle. Mass transport in electrolyte was shown to be a crucial feature to improve especially if the battery is expected to undergo high current-loads for long periods of time.Safety-concerns when a battery cell is short-circuited were investigated for three types of short-circuit scenarios. All scenarios raised the temperature to the point where exothermic side reactions were initiated. The similarities between the scenarios in temperature increase were a result of the limiting current being reached. The differences, however small, were related to the placement of the short-circuit. Especially when the current collectors were not directly connected by the short circuit, an increased electronic resistance was observed which lowered both the generated current and heat.The aging of a battery cell was investigated by model analysis of electrodes harvested from fresh and aged cells. A methodology was used where a frequency-dependent model was fitted to three-electrode impedance experiments by tuning parameters associated to electrode degradation. For cycled cells, electrolyte decomposition products inhibiting the mass transport in the electrolyte and particle cracking in the positive electrode increased the impedance. A similar model was also set up for investigation of the lithium intercalation processes in PAN-based carbon fibers, showing it to have both good mass transport and kinetic capabilities.
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