Brown University and University of Rhode Island researchers led by principal investigator Pradeep R. Guduru, James R. Rice Associate Professor of Engineering at Brown, have won a three-year, $6.17 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The project, “Fundamental Investigations of Mechanical and Chemical Degradation Mechanisms in Lithium Ion Battery Materials” will also involve Brown professors Allan Bower and Vivek Shenoy from the School of Engineering and Li-Qiong Wang from the Department of Chemistry; and Professors Brett Lucht, William Euler and Arijit Bose from the University of Rhode Island.
“This award represents a truly interdisciplinary research effort that brings together solid mechanics, chemistry and materials science,” said Guduru. “The research effort presents an opportunity for Brown and URI researchers to contribute to a technological area of national importance and
forge strong collaborations with national labs and industry.”
“This new award contributes to the growing portfolio of engineering research at Brown in the energy and nanoscience fields,” said Dean Larry Larson. “These new fields are changing the way we live in thousands of different ways. Congratulations to all the faculty, post-docs, staff and students involved in these successful efforts.”
The objective of
the reserach funded under the DOE EPSCoR grant is to establish a
comprehensive research program at Brown University and University of
Rhode Island to develop fundamental and quantitative understanding of
degradation mechanisms that limit the performance and cycle life of
LIBs; and use the insights gained to help develop materials and
architectures with significantly improved performance.
The research program encompasses critical challenges in the three major battery components: anodes,
electrolytes and cathodes. Mechanical and chemical degradation of electrodes associated with large volume changes during charging and discharging
is a critical factor that limits their capacity and lifetime. However, the degradation mechanisms are not well-understood quantitatively, which is a critical obstacle in developing the next
generation of LIBs. The research team will address the fundamental issues of
mechanical behavior & performance, controlling electrochemical
side-reactions, formation and stability of solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI)
layers. Through a combined experimental and computational approach, the team
plans to develop the necessary quantitative understanding, which can help make
battery materials design a well-controlled, principle-based process with
predictable outcomes, in contrast to the largely trial and error based
empirical approach being followed currently. The PIs will work with collaborators in national laboratories and
battery industry in addressing the relevant problems of highest impact for
developing the next generation of higher energy density battery systems.