Phase separation in an electrode of a lithium ion battery, which is a phenomenon where an active electrode material is separated into Li-rich and Li-poor phases, exists widely in many active materials and has significant impacts on the diffusion of lithium ions and diffusion-induced stresses. A phase field model is developed to study the phase separation. Firstly, the influences of various energies, such as the free energy of uniform Li-ion concentration, gradient energy and elastic energy, on phase separation are discussed. Secondly, the impacts of charge operation, e.g. galvanostatic and potentiostatic, on Li-ion diffusion and diffusion-induced stresses in a planar phase separating electrode are investigated. Calculations are also made for single phase electrodes based on Fick s law for comparison. The obtained simulation results show that the Li-ion diffusion in a phase separating electrode depends significantly on the phase separating profile and movement of phase boundary, but it is not sensitive to charge operation. The diffusion-induced stresses also separate into high and low stress regions. Finally, based on the diffusion process and diffusion-induced stress, it is suggested that phase separation should be avoided for the sake of fast charging and mechanical reliability.
Song, Y., Li, Z. Z., Zhang, J., & Soh, A. K. (2015). Diffusion of lithium ions and diffusion-induced stresses in a phase separating electrode under galvanostatic and potentiostatic operations: Phase field simulations. Mechanics of Materials, 91(December 2015), 363 - 371. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mechmat.2015.04.015