Canadian Light Source researcher Toby Bond uses x-rays to help engineer powerful electric vehicle batteries with longer lifetimes. His research, published in The Journal of the Electrochemical Society, shows how the charge/discharge cycles of batteries cause physical damage eventually leading to reduced energy storage. This new work points to a link between cracks that form in the battery material and depletion of vital liquids that carry charge.
Bond uses the BMIT facility at the Canadian Light Source to produce detailed CT scans of the inside of batteries. Working with Dr. Jeff Dahn at Dalhousie University, he specializes in batteries for electric vehicles. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Materials for Electric Vehicle Battery Cells and Packs 2021-2031.
"As we start replacing more and more combustion-driven vehicles with electric vehicles, it's really important to understand how batteries will behave under different conditions," Says Bond."It's very exciting to work on these problems, and we really need tools like synchrotrons to understand the fine details of what's going on inside the battery when we try out new approaches."
In lithium-ion batteries, some of the degradation is caused because charging physically forces lithium ions between other atoms in the electrode material, pushing them apart.
"It can eventually cause the materials in the battery to crumble from the inside out. If it gets bad enough, it can cause parts of the battery to actually peel off inside itself," says Bond. "And if it causes large-scale damage inside the battery, that can become a safety issue as well."
More CLS science highlights
The Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan is a national research facility, producing the brightest light in Canada—millions of times brighter than even the sun. One of the largest science projects in our country's history, the CLS hosts annually more than 1,000 scientists from around the world who use our light to conduct ground-breaking health, agricultural, environmental and advanced materials research.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, National Research Council of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan fund our operations.
Source and top image: Canadian Light Source