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5 Electrolyte formulations – customized and distinct

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C. Wurm et al.

(Fig. 5.9b). Graphite offers only a few “points of entrance” for lithium (at the front

edges of the long-ranging layer areas) to enter the lattice, from where it has to

diffuse into the center of the long-ranging crystalline domains. Amorphous carbons,

on the other hand, offer more points of entrance. The distribution of lithium within

the ordered strata is also very quick, since the diffusion distances are very short.

Moreover, these domains with short-range order are also connected to each other,

lowering the tendency to delaminate. Therefore, amorphous carbons exhibit a

better cycling stability from an electrochemical point of view, especially at higher

charging rates (C rates).

5.4Production and electrochemical characteristics of C/Si

or C/Sn components

As with graphite, lithium is inserted into silicon in different, well-defined twophase plateaus with well-defined chemical compounds at the beginning and end

of the plateaus (Fig. 5.10). The composition and the respective potential levels vs.

lithium are as follows [25]: Si/Li12Si7 (332  mV); Li12Si7/Li7Si3 (288  mV); Li7Si3/

Li13Si4 (158 mV); Li13Si4/Li21Si5 (44 mV). The theoretical specific capacity for the

maximum amount of lithium intercalated into silicon is 4,212 mAh/g [26]. This

currently is the highest known possible capacity of an alloy. The insertion of lithium

in tin (Sn) follows several steps, similar to silicon. At room temperature, these are

for the most part easily detectable in the first cycle, as shown in Fig. 5.10b. The

theoretical specific capacity for Li4.4Sn is 993 mAh/g.

A large amount of lithium forms alloys with silicon and tin, thus resulting in

a big change in volume during intercalation/deintercalation. This in turn causes

the loss of the well-defined insertion steps during cycling and leads to amorphization of the material [27]. This destruction of the crystalline structure is similar

to inner “grinding”, which decreases the cycling stability considerably. Extremely











Fig. 5.10  (a) Lithium insertion in silicon and tin (Sn), (b) lithium insertion in Sn, measured at

two different temperatures [28]

5  Anode materials for lithium-ion batteries53















Fig. 5.11  (a) Influence of silicon particle size on cycling in comparison with the theoretical

capacity for graphite [29], (b) influence of the binding agent on the cycling stability of anodes

based on C/Si [30]

small particles (down to the nano range) are used to reduce this effect (Fig. 5.11a).

A further improvement of the cycling stability is achieved by employing mainly

carbon composites; i.e., nanoparticles are integrated into carbon or graphite matrices, for example. However, this reduces the specific capacity.

Reactive binding agents are used in another approach to improve cycling stability. They cause an additional stabilization of the composite anode (Fig. 5.11b).


Lithium titanate as anode material


The lithium titanate (LTO), which crystallizes as spinel (Li4Ti5O12), reversibly intercalates lithium at 1.55 V (Fig. 5.12a) and reaches a reversible capacity of around

160 mAh/g (Li7Ti5O12). Intercalation/deintercalation of lithium causes almost no

change in particle volume in this process. The whole process consists of two phases

with a distinct flat plateau within the stability window of the electrolyte. No SEI is






Fig. 5.12  (a) Galvanostatic curve of lithium titanate (LTO) with lithium metal as counter electrode and (b) cycling of lithium titanate at 60 °C [31]


C. Wurm et al.

formed, and cell impedance is very low. All these parameters are the reason for the

cell’s very good cycling stability (Fig. 5.12b) and safety characteristics.

The disadvantage of this material is its very low electrical conductivity and resulting relatively poor performance. Hence, the particles should be as small as possible,

preferably in the nano range, and additionally coated with conductive carbon. These

measures improve the power and service life of lithium titanate. Its energy density

remains low, nevertheless, owing to the low specific capacity and the high potential

level vs. Li/Li+ (Fig. 5.1). Lithium titanate is therefore especially suitable for large

cells in stationary applications or for cells in areas with very high power requirements (e.g., hybrid vehicles).


Anode active materials – outlook

Table 5.1 shows a qualitative comparison of the most important anode active

materials in regard to the essential characteristics such as energy, power, service

life, and safety. This assessment reflects the authors’ state of knowledge at the

time of writing and merely provides a basis for approximate orientation and


Taking into consideration the above-mentioned property profiles, the following

materials are currently the most significant anode active materials (depending on

the application): synthetic graphite, natural graphite, amorphous carbon (hard and

soft carbons), and lithium titanate. Graphite has the most balanced profile and, as a

result, by far the largest market share. However, composites (in this context mainly

C/Si) will most likely gain in importance in the long-term future, depending on

the development. Examples of these are silicon alloys, non-silicon alloys such as

Table 5.1  Qualitative assessment of the property profiles of the most important anode active

materials. This assessment is merely a snapshot that needs to be updated as active materials and

the lithium-ion battery system evolve, since intensive research is currently being carried out





Service life


Synthetic graphite





Natural graphite





Amorphous carbon





Lithium titanate (LTO)





C/Si or C/Sn composite




Silicon alloys







Active material

5  Anode materials for lithium-ion batteries55











LiNiMMO2 LiNiPO4, 5 V

High voltage LiCoPO , 5 V








Soft carbon

Hard carbon




C/Alloy composite

Li metal

Non-Si alloys



Si alloys







LiMnPO4, 4 V


LiPF6 +

org. solvents


5 V spinel





ceramic coating Non-wovens

Fig. 5.13  Raw material road map for lithium-ion batteries [32] (Source Avicenne Compilation,

Kai-Christian Moeller, Fraunhofer ISC)

tin-based alloys, and metallic lithium. An overview is presented in Fig. 5.13, the

current raw material road map for lithium-ion batteries [32].


Copper as conductor at the negative electrode

In a lithium-ion cell there typically are two different metal foils that have the

function of collecting the current. The negative electrode consists of copper and

graphite; the positive electrode is made of aluminum which is coated with cathode

material. The electrochemical characteristics of copper are an important reason for

its use.

5.7.1 Requirements for the copper foil

The most important requirement for the copper collector is to collect electrons while

remaining electrochemically stable. These requirements are fulfilled very well by

pure copper. It has the second-highest electrical conductivity of all metallic mater­

ials (after silver) with 58 MS/m. Its positive electrochemical potential results in

good corrosion resistance.

Furthermore, its surface must allow good adhesion of the chemically active anode

material (slurry). Its mechanical strength must be high enough for the foil to survive


C. Wurm et al.

the production of the cell. It is essential that the weight and price of large-format

lithium-ion batteries are kept low for them to be used as an affordable mass product

in electric vehicles. This is ensured by employing the most cost-efficient manufacturing process for foils that are as thin as possible.

The thickness of the copper foil mainly used at the moment is 10 μm. This thickness is determined based on the process requirements and the necessity to transport the electrons with a minimum loss of potential. Generally, it is not desirable to

employ thicker copper foils because copper accounts for around 10 % of the battery

mass. However, there are high-power cells with copper foils with a thickness of up to

18 μm and, on the other hand, high-energy cells with foils with a thickness of 8 μm.

Copper forms a slight oxide layer during storage. Therefore, the surface looks

darker and less shiny. Rough copper has more contact points with oxygen because

of its larger surface and therefore oxidizes more strongly. A copper foil with low

oxidation is preferred for a good coating.

Typically, the copper used in standard high-power cells is smooth copper, in spite

of the fact that a rougher copper surface provides for a larger contact surface for

the graphite and the binding agent, allowing faster charging and discharging of the

battery. The reason for this might be the size of the carbon particles, because adhesion is not influenced substantially with a typical particle size of 20 μm and foil

roughness of 1 to 2 μm.

Impurities in the copper decrease the service life of lithium-ion batteries. Residues from production such as oils and fats (RA copper) are not acceptable.

Coating the foil with graphite is a critical process step. In this context it is important to be able to use long coils free of joints. Each stop and restart increases the

reject rate. Furthermore, the copper should be mechanically stable and have no variations in weight per unit area.

5.7.2Comparison of RA copper foil with electrolytically

produced copper foil

Basically, there are two production processes for manufacturing copper foils: rolling

and electrodeposition.

For the former, an industrial copper cast block is alternately rolled and heated

until the required foil thickness is reached. The result is a well-rolled material with

a fine granular structure that is elongated in the direction of rolling. Both surfaces

are shiny and have the same typical rolling structure.

Electrodeposited copper is manufactured as follows: Copper ions are electrolytically deposited from a copper sulphate solution onto steel or titanium drums

and rolled up into copper foil. This process is in accordance with Faraday’s law. It

stipulates that time and amperage determine the thickness of the deposited copper.

The copper grows dendritically. It is possible to modify this typical structure by

means of inhibitors in the solution. The resulting foil has differing surfaces. The

surface facing the drum is smooth and shiny; the surface facing away from the drum

is rougher. The grains are visible through the microscope.

5  Anode materials for lithium-ion batteries57

Both RA copper and electrodeposited copper may be used to produce cells for

l­ ithium-ion batteries. Availability and costs, especially of the very thin foils (10 μm)

that are currently demanded most, are the main reasons for the preference of electrodeposited copper.

5.7.3 Substitution of aluminum for copper?

Lithium ions are intercalated into the negative electrode (anode) while a lithium-ion cell is charging. The electrode material, typically graphite, expands by 10 %

during this process. The graphite regains its original volume when the lithium ions


The lithium ions would not only be intercalated into the graphite if aluminum

was used but also inserted into the conductor, thus forming an aluminum-lithium

alloy. The reverse process would occur during discharging. The aluminum would be

degraded after only a few cycles and would be useless as a current collector.

However, if the negative electrode consisted of lithium titanate instead of graphite,

a different picture would emerge. The electrode potential of Li4Ti5O12 is about 1.4 V

higher than that of graphite (cell voltage is around 1.4 V lower). This would prevent

the lithium ions from being intercalated into the aluminum. Therefore, aluminum

is preferred over copper for cost-related and weight-related reasons. Li4Ti5O12 is

employed mainly in stationary applications because of its lower cell voltage.


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Electrolytes and conducting salts

Christoph Hartnig and Michael Schmidt


6.1Introduction���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 59

6.2 Electrolyte components���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 60

6.2.1Solvents���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 60

6.2.2 Conducting salts�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 62

6.3 Functional electrolytes ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 67

6.3.1 Calendar life and cycling stability ���������������������������������������������������������������������� 67

6.3.2 Safety and overcharging protection �������������������������������������������������������������������� 70

6.4 Gel and polymer electrolytes�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 71

6.5 Electrolyte formulations – customized and distinct �������������������������������������������������������� 73

6.6Outlook���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 74

Bibliography������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 74


“Chemistry gets it done.” High-duty lithium-ion batteries of today and especially

those of the future are not conceivable without advances in the development of

materials. Chemistry will have to play a significant role in that. By employing innovative concepts for the materials, it will have to optimize the battery technology

in terms of energy density power density as well as cycle and calendar life and thus

open the door to electric mobility and stationary storage of renewable energy.

The development of new electrolyte systems for lithium-ion batteries is of para­

mount importance, alongside the development of new electrode materials and

C. Hartnig (*)

Heraeus Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, Heraeusstraße 12-14, 63450 Hanau, Germany

e-mail: christoph.hartnig@heraeus.com

M. Schmidt

BASF SE, GCN/EE – M311, 67056 Ludwigshafen, Germany

e-mail: michael.e.schmidt@basf.com

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

R. Korthauer (ed.), Lithium-Ion Batteries: Basics and Applications,



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