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Batteries that stand the test of time

​​​​Accelerated aging tests provide valuable information about the damage batteries suffer over time. Researchers at CEA Tech in Grenoble and IRAMIS, the Institute of Matter and Radiation of the CEA's Physical Science Division in Saclay, recently uncovered new information using a novel test in research conducted with labs LRMO (DEN/DPC), LCP, and ICMMO of the University of Paris Sud.​

Published on 19 May 2016
​When it comes to battery lifespans, the electrolyte is often the weak link that determines how long a battery will operate. However, the battery aging tests that could help scientists better understand the phenomenon are too expensive and time-consuming to be performed regularly.

Based on research[1] conducted by the CEA's Physical Science Division/IRAMIS in conjunction with the Physical Chemistry lab in Orsay, researchers at CEA's Physical Science Division/IRAMIS in Saclay and Liten, a CEA Tech institute, demonstrated that irradiating the electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries is an effective way to obtain a faithful simulation of natural aging. Even better, the method is much faster and more effective than the charge-discharge cycles used during traditional testing. "Exposure to very short radiolysis cycles results in the formation of the same degradation effects as hot cycles."

Radiolysis testing times are vastly shorter than traditional aging tests. In addition, radiolysis can be used to conduct time-resolved tests that provide insight into battery aging kinetics. Furthermore, the energy transmitted to the sample is easy to adjust, making it possible to examine in detail the formations in either the gas or liquid phase. Finally, the method offers the advantage of being able to treat electrolyte components (solvents and salts) either together or separately.

The research has been published and is fueling additional investigations that will aim to improve electrolyte formulations (such as with additives or candidate screening) for longer battery life spans.

[1] Initial results published in Nature Communications by CEA researchers (IRAMIS and DEN/DPC/LRMO) in conjunction with the Physical Chemistry lab in Orsay : Nat. Comm., 6 (2015) 6950

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