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A homogenization study of the effects of cycling on the electronic conductivity of commercial lithium-ion battery cathodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Dr Jamie Foster
  • A. Gully
  • H. Liu
  • S. Krachkovskiy
  • Y. Wu
  • S. B. Schougaard
  • M. Jiang
  • G. Goward
  • G. A. Botton
  • B. Protas
State-of-the-art image acquisition, image analysis, and modern homogenization theory are used to study the effects of cycling on commercial lithium-ion battery cathodes’ ability to conduct electronic current. This framework allows for a rigorous computation of an effective, or macroscale, electronic conductivity given an arbitrarily complicated three-dimensional microstructure comprised of three different material phases, i.e., active material, binder (polymer mixed with conductive carbon black), and electrolyte. The approach explicitly takes into account the geometry and is thus a vast improvement over the commonly used Bruggeman approximation. We apply our framework to two different types of lithium-ion battery cathodes before and after cycling. This leads us to predict an appreciable decrease in the effective electronic conductivity as a direct result of cycling. In addition, we present an ad-hoc “neighbor counting” methodology which meaningfully quantifies the effect of binder detaching from the surface of the active material due to the internal mechanical stresses experienced under operating conditions, thereby supporting the results of the homogenization calculations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12199-12208
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number22
Early online date12 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • paper_v12

    Rights statement: This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 3.09 MB, PDF document

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