Batteries are at the heart of revolutionary innovations in smart mobile devices, pollution free electric cars, intelligent power management solutions, and mass energy storage systems to compliment wind and solar power.
Whether you are associated with Battery research or battery production, aiming to achieve the highest battery performance, our analytical solutions can help you get there faster and easier. This applies to Li-ion batteries as well as new emerging battery technologies like Na-ion, Li-sulphur, Zink-air etc. Here are some examples of how you can feed your critical problems with the right solutions:
Why does my battery degrade with cycling?
Several researchers and industries have solved this key puzzle with our in-operando XRD solutions. Degradation is usually related to irreversible changes in crystal structure of cathode and/or anode materials during charge discharge cycles. Sometimes these crystal structure changes also cause excessive volumetric expansion/contraction leading to cracking of electrode particles and subsequent loss of battery capacity. In-operando XRD can track Li ion assisted crystal structure changes and associated volumetric expansion/contraction at atomic level to predict material failure upon cycling.
If you make the pouch cells, you can analyse them with Hard radiation Ag anode XRD. Ag radiation can penetrate up to 5mm thick battery pouch cells. In-operando Empyrean XRD equipped with Ag anode and ultrafast GaliPIX3D detector can capture real time phase transitions during battery cycling. Moreover, with our unique non-ambient solutions you can create high and low temperature environments during in-operando cycling.
In a research environment, you can also opt for our electrochemical cells that can mimic a coin cell. Along with heating and cooling options, this offers a unique possibility of analysing battery performance with in-operando XRD.
How can I optimize my cathode pre-cursor materials?
Pre-cursor battery materials are usually produced by liquid phase co-precipitation method. The process can be optimized using measurement and control of following parameters:
Zeta potential: Precipitation of particles form the solution relies upon favourable interaction between primary particles (which are 50-100nm) to form larger secondary particles 10-20µm). Measurement on zeta potential can be used to optimize Ph and temperature values to make this interaction favourable. Zetasizer allows accurate measurement of zeta-potential and can complement your R&D on pre-cursor synthesis.
Particle shape: Particle shape plays an important role in formation of stable secondary particles and can significantly influence the pre-cursor yield (tap density) in a given retention time. Morphologi 4 can analyse the size and shape of statistically relevant ensemble of particles in just a few minutes to empower you with useful information to improve the tap density.
At-line particle size: Measurement of secondary particle size in the solution can provide an important information on the process efficiency and resulting tap density. Insitec at-line particle size analysis of the slurry provides real time data on particle size evolution with retention time. Insitec feedback can significantly improve the pre-cursor yield.
Stoichiometry analysis: XRF analysis of pre-cursor materials ensures correct stoichiometry (chemical composition) of the pre-cursor material. At few % levels XRF provides a simpler and more accurate ways of measuring elemental composition than ICP or AAS. Many leading battery companies use our benchtop Epsilon 4 XRF or Zetium WDXRF to analyse cathode and pre-cursor materials.
How do I ensure the quality of my cathode and anode materials?
Crystalline Phase: Crystalline phase is an important attribute defining the quality of cathode materials and XRD is the best technique to analyse crystalline phases. XRD analysis ensures that reactants have completely fused to the desired and stable crystalline phase. In addition, X-ray diffraction (XRD) can also throw light on the size of primary particles, which plays an important role in ion migration. Aeris, the compact X-ray diffractometer, comes factory calibrated to analyse cathode and anode materials. No specific skills are needed to measure samples and analyse data with Aeris XRD. Automatic analysis on Aeris XRD can provide critical information on:
Crystalline phases and presence of any residual reactant
Crystallite size, which is related to the primary particle size
- Degree of graphitization in anode graphite
Particle size: Particle size plays an important role in battery performance. Usually the tolerance on particle size variation if consistent battery performance is to be maintained. Mastersizer 3000 particle size analyzer offers the easiest and most accurate way of measuring cathode and anode materials particle sizes. In an industrial process environment, this can be replaced by an insitec at-line particle size analyser to provide real time data for process control.
Optimize particle shape: Particle shape plays an important role in the quality of coating. Spherical particles would have a dense packing compared to other particle shapes. Particle shape can also influence the coating thickness uniformity. Morphologi 4 can analyse the size and shape of statistically relevant ensemble of particles in just a few minutes to empower you with useful information to improve the quality of cathode coating.
Zeta Potential: Zeta potential of electrode particles in the dispersant (slurry) governs if the particles are prone to aggregate. Any particles aggregation will lead of non-uniform material density resulting in loss of battery performance. Likewise, zeta-potential would also influence the wetting behaviour of the metal surface. Zetasizer can help you optimize the zeta-potential and improve the quality of electrode coating.
How do I enhance battery performance with Graphene?
Graphene is known to enhance the performance of both the cathode and anode materials by providing a framework of electronic conduction network. In the modification of cathode material with graphene, the Zeta potential plays an important role in defining the interaction between graphene and Li cathode particles. Zetasizer can decode the zeta potential of both graphene and cathode particles and help you optimize the Ph value suitable for favourable interaction.
What solutions do Malvern Panalytical have for super/ultra-capacitors?
Graphene/activated carbon based super capacitors complement the batteries in applications needing high power for short times. Materially, super capacitors are very similar to batteries, and particle size, morphology, phase/interlayers and phase changes associated with charge-discharge play equally important role. Our novel solutions discussed above can be used to analyse and improve the performance of super-capacitors as well.
How can I improve battery recycling?
Batteries have precious metals, but each battery may have different type of metals. Chemical composition is the key parameter to ascertain the value of a used battery. If batteries are coming from various sources, sorting based on chemical composition grade analysis is an important step in battery recycling. Our benchtop Epsilon 4 XRF spectrometer makes the task easy with automatic grade sorting.