Understanding rapid charge and discharge in nano-structured lithium iron phosphate cathodes

Michael Jack Castle, G. Richardson, Jamie Foster

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A Doyle-Fuller-Newman (DFN) model for the charge and discharge of nano-structured lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathodes is formulated on the basis that lithium transport within the nanoscale LFP electrode particles is much faster than cell discharge, and is therefore not rate limiting. We present some numerical solutions to the model and show that for relevant parameter values, and a variety of C-rates, it is possible for sharp discharge fronts to form and intrude into the electrode from its outer edge(s). These discharge fronts separate regions of fully utilised LFP electrode particles from those that are not. Motivated by this observation an asymptotic solution to the model is sought. The results of the asymptotic analysis of the DFN model lead to a reduced order model, which we term the reaction front model (or RFM). Favourable agreement is shown between solutions to the RFM and the full DFN model in appropriate parameter regimes. The RFM is significantly cheaper to solve than the DFN model and therefore has the potential to be used in scenarios where computational costs are prohibitive, e.g. in optimisation and parameter estimation problems or in engineering control systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328–368
Number of pages41
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Mathematics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • RCUK
  • EP/S003053/1
  • lithium-ion battery
  • porous electrode theory
  • matched asymptotic expansions
  • lithium iron phosphate
  • Newman model
  • reduced order model


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