Dendrite Suppression to Curtail Lithium-Ion Battery Failure

Lithium dendrite formation map. Horizontal axis corresponds to battery charging state, and vertical axis corresponds to the initial size of the (lithium) deposit. Regimes of behavior during the initial stages of nucleation and growth are: 1) dendrite suppression, below the blue curve (improved battery life); 2) dendrite growth regime, above the black line (will lead to battery failure and ignition); 3) long incubation time regime, between the blue curve and the black curve (during battery storage and lasts from days to months); and finally, 4) short incubation time regime, in the vicinity of where the blue and black curves merge (during fast recharge rates). Continuous gray curves highlight charging states of constant dendrite incubation time. Dashed gray curves show the initial growth velocities of the stable nuclei. Inset (a) exemplifies a lithium dendrite internally short-circuiting a battery (micrograph courtesy of Quinn Horn).

In the context of the recent 787 incident, which brought to the attention of the general public the reliability challenges in current Lithium-Ion Battery technology, Dr. David Ely and Prof. R. Edwin García have identified the different ways in which Li-ion batteries can develop dendrites during recharge. The formation of these defects is of great importance because its nucleation precedes internal short-circuiting and even battery ignition. 

Fundamentally, the performed research proposes a Universal roadmap to allow experimentalists and theoreticians alike to explore the different regimes of behavior during battery recharging, and enables researchers to identify the charging conditions that will favor complete suppression (or at least minimization) of lithium aggregates. The work readily explains available in situ experimental data and reconciles conflicting existing theories as they were reported during the 1990s and early 2000s. While the developed theory is emphatically applied to Li-ion batteries, it was formulated so that it could be readily applied to other emerging battery chemistries, such as Mg- and S-ion batteries. 

Additional details can be found at: 

More on R. Edwin García's battery modeling group can be found at:

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Contact: R. Edwin García (