New strategies to halt dendritic growth in lithium batteries have been presented in a new study by Stanford University researchers that may pave the way to safer lithium-metal batteries.
The team suggests using anisotropic materials (exhibiting different properties in different directions) for the electrolyte to “finetune the complex interplay between ion transport and interfacial chemistry” and prevent dendrite formation.
Some liquid crystals and gels display these desired characteristics, the researchers suggest.
Another approach identified using separator membranes that prevent electrodes from touching and short-circuiting.
The researchers suggest separators that feature pores that allow lithium ions to pass back and forth through the electrolyte in an anisotropic manner.
The study, which approached the dendrite problem from a theoretical perspective, was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Journal of The Electrochemical Society.
Following the results, the team are working on constructing a full virtual representation – known as a “digital avatar” – of lithium-metal battery systems, or DABS.
Hamdi Tchelepi, study co-author and a professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, said: “Our hope is that other researchers can use this guidance from our study to design devices that have the right properties and reduce the range of trial-and-error, experimental variations they have to do in the lab.”