Batteries made of charge carriers from Earth-crust abundant materials (e.g., Na, K, and Mg) have received extensive attention as an alternative to Li-ion batteries for grid storage. However, a lack of understanding of the behavior of these larger ions in the electrode materials hinders the development of electrode structures suitable for these large ions. In this study, we investigate the impact of alkali ions (Li, Na, and K) on the redox chemistry and mechanical deformations of iron phosphate composite cathodes by using electrochemical techniques and in situ digital image correlation. Na-ion and Li-ion intercalation demonstrate a nearly linear correlation between electrochemical strains and the state of charge and discharge. The strain development shows nonlinear dependance on the state of charge and discharge for K ions. Strain rate calculations show that K ion intercalation results in a progressive increase in the strain rate for all cycles. Li and Na intercalation induce nearly constant strain rates with the exception of the first discharge cycle of Na intercalation. When the same amount of ions are inserted into the electrode, the electrode shows the lowest strain generation upon Li intercalation compared to larger alkali ions. Na and K ions induce similar volumetric changes in the electrode when the state of charge and discharge is around 30%. Although the electrode experiences larger absolute strain generation at the end of the discharge cycles upon Na intercalation, strain rates were found to be greater for K ions. Potential-dependent behaviors also demonstrate more sluggish redox reactions during K intercalation, compared to Li and Na. Our quantitative analysis suggests that the strain rate, rather than the absolute value of strain, is the critical factor in amorphization of the crystalline electrode.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemistry (miscellaneous)