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Discrete element modelling of the mechanical behaviour of lithium-ion battery electrode layers

Time: Fri 2024-04-19 13.00

Location: 4303, Teknikringen 8, Stockholm

Language: English

Subject area: Engineering Mechanics Solid Mechanics

Doctoral student: Axel Lundkvist , Hållfasthetslära

Opponent: Professor Pär Jonsén, LKAB

Supervisor: Professor Per-Lennart Larsson, Hållfasthetslära

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Since their introduction in the late 20th century, lithium-ion batteries have become the leading battery technology for portable devices and electric vehicles due to their high energy density and rechargeability. However, the increasing demand for a longer battery life span is hindered by the fading of the battery’s charge capacity over prolonged use. This reduction in charge capacity stems from electrochemical and mechanical degradation of the battery cells. The main research focus in the literature has been on the chemical degradation of battery cells. However, the mechanical degradation also substantially contributes to the battery’s capacity degradation. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the mechanical properties of the battery cells to be able to mitigate mechanical degradation. The battery’s mechanical degradation stems from the electrode layers’ constituents. This thesis aims to model the positive electrode’s mechanical properties by recreating its granular microstructure using the discrete element method.

In Papers 1 and 2, a discrete element method modelling framework is developed, which can reconstruct a positive electrode layer of a lithium-ion battery, simulate manufacturing processing steps, and determine the mechanical properties of the electrode layer. The framework uses two contact models, representing the positive electrode material in the form of particles and a binder agent, which gives the electrode layer its structural integrity. The framework is used to link the mechanical behaviour of the electrode particles and the binder agent to the mechanical behaviour of the entire electrode layer. The framework is able to capture the layer’s pressure sensitivity and relaxation behaviour, properties which have been displayed in the literature through experimental testing.