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The Use of AE Technology in Lithium Ion Batteries


Kevin Rhodes, a doctoral student from the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is currently using two MISTRAS Acoustic Emission (AE) systems as a tool for studying the degradation of lithium-ion battery materials.

The use of lithium-ion batteries (LIB) has recently become more widespread in applications being used in many everyday electronics. As the third lightest element, lithium can provide much higher energy densities than lead acid, nickel–cadmium, or nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries allowing for lighter and more compact portable power supplies. Because of this, the demand of LIB technology is increasing and battery longevity and performance are becoming an issue. Therefore it has become apparent that a more thorough understanding of how the material degrades is necessary to help identify processing and cycling techniques that may be capable of improving overall performance and reduce capacity fading.

Kevin ultimately set out to present work that aims to create AE methods capable of guiding the development of improved electrode materials and cell assemblies, as well as providing a powerful nondestructive evaluation tool for performance diagnostics and early failure detection of in-service cells. 

For his research, he used the DiSP-4 system with 1220 A preamps and S9220 sensors, from MISTRAS Products & Systems, to monitor the AE activity on the lithium-ion cells. The sensors were attached to the composite silicon electrode side of the coin cell and silicon grease was used as a couplant to improve signal transmission with rubber bands keeping the sensor securely in place. The entire assembly was placed onto a dense foam pad to increase isolation. This AE technology combined with other techniques such as X-ray diffraction, Raman IR, optical microscopy, and neutron diffraction demonstrated the ability of AE to provide not only information of when events occur during cycling but also about their nature. Knowing the source of emissions from silicon composite electrodes and their identifying characteristics may allow for their identification in more complex commercial cells where additional sources of AE may exist.

Identifying these additional sources and being able to locate and detect silicon fracture with AE technology puts Kevin and his team one step closer to finding a solution in improving the performance of Lithium-Ion batteries.

A special THANKS to Kevin Rhodes and his colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for providing us with the information and pictures on their AE research! 



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