Explaining key properties of lithiation in TiO2-anatase Li-ion battery electrodes using phase-field modeling

Niek de Klerk, Alexandros Vasileiadis, Raymond B. Smith, Martin Z. Bazant, Marnix Wagemaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


The improvement of Li-ion battery performance requires development of models that capture the essential physics and chemistry in Li-ion battery electrode materials. Phase-field modeling has recently been shown to have this ability, providing new opportunities to gain understanding of these complex systems. In this paper, a novel electrochemical phase-field model is presented that captures the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of lithium insertion in TiO2-anatase, a well-known and intensively studied Li-ion battery electrode material. Using a linear combination of two regular solution models, the two phase transitions during lithiation are described as lithiation of two separate lattices with different physical properties. Previous elaborate experimental work on lithiated anatase TiO2 provides all parameters necessary for the phase-field simulations, giving the opportunity to gain fundamental insight in the lithiation of anatase and validate this phase-field model. The phase-field model captures the essential experimentally observed phenomena, rationalizing the impact of C rate, particle size, surface area, and the memory effect on the performance of anatase as a Li-ion battery electrode. Thereby a comprehensive physical picture of the lithiation of anatase TiO2 is provided. The results of the simulations demonstrate that the performance of anatase is limited by the formation of the poor Li-ion diffusion in the Li1TiO2 phase at the surface of the particles. Unlike other electrode materials, the kinetic limitations of individual anatase particles limit the performance of full electrodes. Hence, rather than improving the ionic and electronic network in electrodes, improving the performance of anatase TiO2 electrodes requires preventing the formation of a blocking Li1TiO2 phase at the surface of particles. Additionally, the qualitative agreement of the phase-field model, containing only parameters from literature, with a broad spectrum of experiments demonstrates the capabilities of phase-field models for understanding Li-ion electrode materials, and its promise for guiding the design of electrodes through a thorough understanding of material properties and their interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number025404
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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  • Research Output

    • 12 Citations
    • 1 Dissertation (TU Delft)

    Simulations of electrode & solid electrolyte materials

    de Klerk, N., 2019, 168 p.

    Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

    Open Access
  • 85 Downloads (Pure)

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