Quality Assurance for Battery Materials

Quality Assurance for Battery Materials

Material structure development and raw material processing

High-quality materials mean high-quality batteries

Laying the foundations for NEV performance

Among all the elements in a new energy vehicle (NEV), the battery system has the largest impact on the driving experience. The energy density of the cells determines the power to weight ratio and the driving range, while the charging time must meet customer expectations. And since raw materials are intrinsically linked to the cost of battery cells, solutions must deliver on three fronts: price, performance, and of course safety.

Explore some of the key quality challenges relating to the development and processing of battery materials – and discover the ZEISS microscopy portfolio that is crucial to overcoming them.

Key quality challenges for battery materials

Recipe Development

Recipe development

Pinpointing ideal properties

The development of new active materials for the cathode, anode, and separator helps improve the capacity, charging behavior, and lifetime in a cost-effective way. Though adding silicon to the anode can increase energy density, the potential impact on battery lifetime must be monitored.

ZEISS electron and X-ray microscopy solutions support enhanced battery performance and safety, with their imaging and analysis crucial for determining the relevant material properties.

Supply Chain Control

Supply chain control

Uniformity and consistency

Controlling the quality of incoming goods ensures uniformity and consistency in the material supply. Key issues range from the qualification of raw material powders to the quality control of foils.

ZEISS light and confocal microscopes examine the roughness and microstructure of foils, whereas electron microscopes assess the composition, particle distribution, and contamination of raw material powders. To ensure a uniform supply, ZEISS X-ray microscopy analyzes entire batteries.

Calendering pressure

Density, porosity, and charging

Poor battery material mixing and low-pressure calendering leads to voids in the binder material and excessive spacing of cathode particles. Inspection with 3D X-ray microscopy can counter negative effects such as suboptimal energy density or poor charging capacity.

This video shows two cathodes that have been compressed at different calendering pressures. The resulting variations in particle packing density and electrode porosity affect the electrochemical performance of the cells.

  • This video features non-destructive imaging of the cell microstructure following a single charge cycle.

    Lifetime and aging effects

    Tracking the battery condition

    As the performance of a battery varies during its lifetime, it is critical to understand longitudinal aging effects. Microscopy solutions make it possible to observe how charging and discharging processes trigger chemical and structural changes that alter the electrode materials.

  • This video demonstrates the morphological changes in a lithium-metal anode battery after 80 charge cycles: mechanical deformation at the edges of the electrodes, stress formation, and variation in the radial distance and separation of the layers.

    Lifetime and Aging Effects

    Observing microscopic changes

    Repeated swelling and contracting of the battery leads to cracks, voids, and lower mechanical stability and electrical connectivity. Microscale electrical property mapping with ZEISS electron microscopy helps respond to reduced capacity and potential cell failure.

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