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Particle Size Analysis Used for the Characterization of Battery Materials

Characterization of Battery Materials using Laser Diffraction Particle Size Analysis

Abstract

This application note describes the use of laser diffraction measuring particle size during battery manufacture. The particle size distribution of the materials used within battery electrodes is important in defining battery power and capacity.

Introduction

The market for batteries is rapidly growing. The increased demand for portable electronic devices, including mobile phones and laptops, has required great advances in battery technology in order to provide a light weight, long lasting and stable power source. Battery technology is also being pushed further in electric vehicle applications, which require even more lightweight, high power and fast charging batteries.

Both primary (disposable) and secondary (rechargeable) batteries use a wide range of materials in order to achieve the required energy density at a reasonable cost. Within this, an important aspect in the design of the battery is the particle size of the materials used within the electrodes, as this helps define the battery power and capacity. In this application note, we investigated some of the common materials used in battery production, and how the particle size of these can be characterized using the technique of laser diffraction.

Particle size requirements

The performance of a battery can be characterized according to the amount of energy that it can store or the amount of power that it can produce. For a particular cell chemistry and battery size, the performance can be optimized for high energy capacity or high power [2]. The power of a battery or its current handling capacity is dependent on the rate of the reaction between the electrodes and electrolyte. This is affected by the particle size distribution of the electrode material, as this defines the available surface area. The maximum battery power can be increased by decreasing the particle size of the electrode material and increasing the surface area.

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