Scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) led by Chongmin Wang have conducted studies in order to understand the catastrophic growth of dendrites within lithium batteries. Dendrites are structures that grow in the battery’s internal architecture and cause harm by breaking the barrier between the electrolyte and the lithium, which leads to battery failure. The perpetrator of this phenomenon has been identified as ethylene carbonate. Ironically, it is a solvent that is currently added to the electrolyte to improve battery performance. Now that the root cause of these destructive dendrites has been identified, steps can be taken to not only suppress their growth but ultimately eliminate their existence entirely.
Dendrite growth in lithium battery leads to failure. Source: SLAC National Laboratory, Stanford University
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