It has been known that Li-ion deviation occurs in the electrodes and electrolyte as a result of charging and discharging, and such deviation has been believed to limit the usage area of batteries, which is one factor that reduces the area in which the maximum performance of the battery can be achieved. When investigating the mechanism of Li-ion deviation, however, confirming the behavior of Li-ions in the electrolyte under the same environment and conditions as when it is being used in related products was not possible using existing methods.
The two main features of the observation method that Toyota developed to help solve this problem are as follows:
By using the method described above, and a battery that is similar to that of related products such as laminated cell under the environment and conditions that resemble those of actual battery use, it is possible to observe in real-time, the process of Li-ion deviation that occurs in electrolytes during the course of battery charging and discharging. This observational method was jointly developed by Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc., Nippon Soken, Inc., and four universities.4
Going forward, Toyota will observe the behavior of Li-ions caused by differences in the materials and structures of cathodes, anodes, separators, and electrolytes, as well as the differences in battery control. Analyzing the mechanisms that cause deterioration of battery performance will lead to R&D that can help to improve the performance and durability of batteries, to bring about longer battery life and longer driving ranges.
1 Methods for observing laminated cells by using high-intensity X-rays and incorporating heavy elements into an electrolyte (According to Toyota Motor Corporation, as of August 2016)
2 Installed as a special-purpose beamline by Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc. with the Cooperation of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI).
3 A testing and research facility with the world's highest performance synchrotron radiation comprehensively operated by RIKEN as the facility owner. Operated and maintained by the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI). SPring-8 stands for Super Photon ring-8 GeV.
4 Hokkaido University, Tohoku University, Kyoto University, and Ritsumeikan University.
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