Problem 5

Challenge Title | Towards more efficient Lithium metal batteries.

Brief description of the challenge:

Lithium metal batteries have metallic lithium as an anode. In difference to lithium-ion batteries that store lithium ion, or atoms, in the structure’s voids, the lithium metal batteries just form a layer of lithium  at one of the electrodes: this allows to avoid using the storing material typical on lithium-ion batteries, and therefore having same storing power at a fraction of weight and volume. In addition recharge times for these batteries can theoretically be shorter those for ion-Lithium batteries.

One of the main problems that prevent the deployment at large scale of rechargeable lithium metal batteries is their short life span due mainly to the lost of Coulombic efficiency and the formation of dendrites (tree-like structures)  that cause short-circuits inside the battery: as charge-discharge cycles ensue, the lithium deposits on the surface forming dendrites normal to the surface. This dendritic growth leads lithium structures  to reach, after some short number of cycles other elements of the battery rendering these battery useless.

The challenge is to model these dendritic grow during charge/discharge cycles using analytical, semi-analytical, and numerical techniques, and study if charge processes with some short- oscillatory patterns of micro charge/discharge  may prevent or reduce the formation of such dendritic structures, allowing for much larger life-times for these promising batteries.


Mathematical background:  students need to have some basic knowledge of some programming language like Python, C, or Fortran.


Coordinator | Joan Josep Cerdà,  Department of Physics and Institute of Applied Computing and Community Code (IAC3), University of Balearic Islands, Spain