Today, the electric vehicle (EV) industry is not only about transportation but also a force shaping our future. Introducing the concept of low carbon and sustainable development: advancing energy revolution and constructing a clean, low-carbon, safe, and efficient energy system.
With the continuous global demand for electric vehicles, there is a growing need for advanced battery technology that can provide longer range, faster charging speeds, and higher sustainability. Behind all these innovations, the microstructure of battery materials, as well as their dynamics, determine their high-quality performance. They have a complex impact on the overall performance of the battery and directly influence the safety and usability of electric vehicles.
Accurately and comprehensively understanding the structure-performance relationship of lithium battery materials requires the integrated use of various detection technologies. The analysis of battery material particle size and shape plays a crucial role, and this will directly shape the future of EVs and the broader energy landscape.
The performance of a battery largely relies on the characteristics of its core materials, especially the cathode, anode, electrolyte, and separator materials. Among the numerous factors influencing battery performance, the particle size and shape of battery materials are becoming increasingly important.
One of the most crucial aspects of EV battery development is maximizing energy density. Smaller particles within the battery materials offer a larger surface area for electrochemical reactions. This translates to increased energy storage capacity, allowing EVs to travel longer distances on a single charge.
By meticulously controlling particle size, researchers are pushing the boundaries of energy density, a key factor in the adoption of electric vehicles.
Particle shape plays a crucial role in determining the filling density and porosity of electrode materials. Well-defined particle shapes facilitate efficient packing, reduce internal resistance, and enhance electron mobility within the battery. This leads to faster charge-discharge rates and outstanding overall performance, making electric vehicles more competitive in terms of acceleration and range.
Additionally, the anode material is one of the key materials in lithium-ion batteries. It plays a role in storing and releasing energy in lithium-ion batteries, primarily affecting factors like initial efficiency and cycling performance.
Anode materials in lithium-ion batteries consist of carbon-based or non-carbon-based materials. Carbon-based materials can be classified into graphite, hard carbon, soft carbon, and graphene, among others. It is important to conduct quality control by testing the elemental composition of anode materials, especially the carbon content.
Particle characteristics also impact the electrolyte and separator. Fine-tuning the size and shape of particles in the electrolyte can enhance ion conductivity, directly affecting the battery's charge-discharge efficiency. Additionally, designing separators with controlled pore sizes can enhance safety and prolong battery life.
Lithium-ion battery slurry is primarily composed of active materials, conductive agents, binders, solvents, etc. Its dispersed phase consists of particles with varying sizes, morphologies, and densities.
Corresponding dispersion media include organic solvent NMP (commonly used as a solvent for cathode slurry) and deionized water (commonly used as a solvent for anode slurry). In the process of preparing electrode sheets for lithium-ion batteries, slurry formulation, as the foremost procedure, significantly impacts the quality of the obtained slurry and process stability, exerting a profound influence on the entire production process.
Many components of battery slurry - electrode materials, graphite, polymer binders, and solvents - are interconnected, playing a crucial role in the quality of electrode coatings. One important factor is the zeta potential of the particles in the slurry, which determines whether these particles are prone to aggregation.
Through non-destructive cross-sectional scanning, the three-dimensional microstructure characteristics inside the sample and the host material are revealed without damaging the sample. For various types of batteries, internal structures can be observed non-invasively, including electrode winding conditions, internal structural changes after multiple charge-discharge cycles, internal structural damage after puncture tests, and defect analyses such as foreign object distribution.
This comprehensive understanding of the impact on battery safety performance, achieved through defect detection, enhances battery safety performance.
In the pursuit of superior electric vehicle batteries, advanced analytical instruments play a crucial role. Techniques such as static light scattering (laser particle size analyzer), dynamic light scattering (nanoparticle size analyzer), multi-angle light scattering (stability analyzer), ZETA potential analyzer, capacity-based gas adsorption (surface area and pore size analyzer), optical sessile drop method (contact angle goniometer), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and high-temperature combustion organic elemental analyzer (OEA) provide valuable insights into particle size, shape, and distribution.
By harnessing these cutting-edge technologies, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of battery materials, enabling data-driven decision-making and accelerating innovation in EV battery materials.
As the EV industry continues to advance rapidly, the analysis of battery material particle size and shape emerges as a key driver of innovation. By leveraging advanced analytical instruments and gaining a deeper understanding of particle characteristics, researchers are revolutionizing the EV battery landscape. At DKSH Business Line Scientific Instrumentation, we are proud to be a part of this transformative journey, helping to power the electric vehicles of tomorrow and drive sustainable progress for our planet. Together, we shape a brighter, greener future for generations to come.
Cathleen Lin is the General Manager of Scientific Instrumentation at DKSH Business Unit Technology, China. With an extensive background in the instrumentation industry, she brings over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing, product management, and business development in China. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Applied Chemistry from Fudan university, and an MBA from East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST).