Researchers have documented for the first time the stresses that build up around solid-state battery electrolytes, helping set the stage for the development of improved and more efficient batteries. Scientists have long thought that stresses can build up around dendrites, thin metallic projects that can ultimately short out solid-electrolyte batteries, but they haven’t been precisely measured.
A team of scientists at Georgia Tech, Brown University, Nanyang Technological University, and MIT have measured the mechanical stresses that develop in dendrites – solving a long-standing hypothesis that high stresses can be developed around dendrites. Dendrites pierce through solid electrolytes, eventually crossing from one electrode to the other and shorting out the solid-state battery cell.
Georgia Tech Professor Christos Athanasiou and the multidisciplinary team used photoelasticity to measure the stress on batteries caused during the battery cycle. In their paper, Operando Measurements of Dendrite-Induced Stresses in Ceramic Electrolytes using Photoelasticity, they managed to overcome challenges associated with measurements of easy to break, very tiny solid electrolyte samples. The samples thickness was about 10 times smaller than the average diameter of human hair.
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