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Lithium Cell Design

By Prakarsh Pratik (08011040), Febin Koyan (08011047) Materials: Cathod: Li(NixMnyCoz)O2] Anode: Graphite Electrolytes: Liquid Polymer Electrolyte- Equimolar mixture of Ethylene Carbonate(EC) and Dimethylene Carbonate (DMC) containing 1M LiPF6 salt Separator: Celgard membrane with 45% porosity Layered oxides containing cobalt and nickel are the most studied materials for lithium-ion batteries. They show a high stability in the high-voltage range but cobalt has limited availability in nature and is toxic, which is a tremendous drawback for mass manufacturing. Manganese offers a low-cost substitution with a high thermal threshold and excellent rate capabilities but limited cycling behavior. Therefore, mixtures of cobalt, nickel, and manganese are used to combine the best properties and minimize the drawbacks. A safe and long-lasting battery needs a robust electrolyte that can withstand existing voltage and high temperatures and that has a long shelf life while offering a high mobility for lithium ions. Polymer electrolytes are ionically conductive polymers. They are often mixed in composites with ceramic nanoparticles, resulting in higher conductivities and resistance to higher voltages. In addition, due to their high viscosity and quasi-solid behavior, polymer electrolytes could inhibit lithium dendrites from growing13 and could therefore be used with lithium metal anodes. The battery separator separates the two electrodes physically from each other, thus avoiding a short circuit. In the case of a liquid electrolyte, the separator is a foam material that is soaked with the electrolyte and holds it in place. It needs to be an electronic insulator while having minimal electrolyte resistance, maximum mechanical stability, and chemical resistance to degradation in the highly electrochemically active environment. The separator often has a safety feature, called thermal shutdown. At elevated temperatures, it melts or closes its pores to shut down the lithium-ion transport without losing its mechanical stability. Assembly of the Li-ion battery: The electrodes, separator and electrolytes are placed in a box so that they are not disturbed, from the box two external contacts come out from which we can draw the power. Atleast one face of the box should be made of quartz crystal glass so that it is transparent so that laser light can be passed through to obtain the stress information. The rest all face can be made of material such that Li ions cannot diffuse through them or resistant to corrosive environment. The box is sealed in order to maintain a reasonable vacuum level such that the environment of Li ion battery is not disturbed.

Opposite to quartz glass face of the cuboid we first place the lithium electrode in its position with the help of a cantilever beam made up of metal (i.e., it is not rested on the other face of cuboid). The metal cantilever beam is the external contact for the Li-electrode through which electrons can travel. The separator soaked in the electrolyte is placed above the lithium electrode, it is also held in its position using another cantilever beam made up of insulator such that it serves the required mechanical purpose. It does not interfere with the electrochemical reaction. Note that physical contact should be maintained between separator and electrode at all times since we do not want to break the diffusion path of Li ions since they cannot diffuse in air/vacuum. Now, we place the other electrode such that Si thin film is in contact with the separator and the ceramic substrate is directly visible through the quartz glass. Similar to the lithium electrode, the Si electrode is also supported by a metallic cantilever beam so that it acts as external contact and mechanical support. Since a single cantilever beam is used for support it can easily bend if it is subjected to stress. As mentioned above the physical contact between the separator and the electrode is important. Li ion is usually hazardous in nature hence safety measures are incorporated in to the battery, for example we have devices to measure temperature so that if the temperaures exceed a critical level inside we can cut off the current supply so that no more heating takes place etc.