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Mechanism of lithium sulfide Li2S which shows the prospect of solid electrolyte

2019-04-10
Most batteries consist of two solid electrochemically active layers called electrodes separated by a polymer membrane that is injected into a liquid or gel electrolyte. However, recent research has explored the possibility of an all-solid-state battery in which a liquid (and possibly flammable) electrolyte will be replaced by a solid electrolyte, which can increase the energy density and safety of the battery.
 
Now, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology first explored the mechanical properties of sulfide-based solid electrolyte materials to determine their mechanical properties when added to batteries.
 
 
Lithium-ion batteries offer a lightweight energy storage solution that has enabled many of today's high-tech devices, from smartphones to electric vehicles. However, the use of a solid electrolyte in place of a conventional liquid electrolyte in such a battery can have significant advantages. This all-solid-state lithium-ion battery provides higher energy storage at the battery level, known as the pound sterling. They can actually eliminate the risk of tiny finger-like metal bumps called dendrites that can grow through the electrolyte layer and cause short circuits.
 
 
 
However, a big problem with the use of such an all-solid battery is what kind of mechanical stress may occur in the electrolyte material when the electrode is repeatedly charged and discharged. This cycle causes the electrode to expand and contract as lithium ions enter and exit the crystal structure. In rigid electrolytes, these dimensional changes can cause high stresses. If the electrolyte is also brittle, then constant changes in size can cause the crack to rapidly degrade battery performance, and may even provide a channel that disrupts the formation of dendrites like a liquid electrolyte battery.
 
However, to date, the extreme sensitivity of sulfides to common laboratory air has challenged the measurement of mechanical properties, including their fracture toughness. To solve this problem, members of the research team conducted mechanical tests in mineral oil baths to protect the samples from any chemical interaction with air or moisture. Using this technique, they were able to obtain detailed measurements of the mechanical properties of conductive sulfides, which is considered a promising candidate for electrolytes in all solid state batteries.