Understanding component-specific contributions and internal dynamics in silicon/graphite blended electrodes for high-energy Lithium-ion batteries
Blended electrode materials containing high-capacity silicon (Si) and robust graphite (Gr) materials are considered advanced alternatives to pure graphite electrodes used in Li-ion batteries. Understanding the component specific lithiation and delithiation behavior and electrochemical interactions between the blended materials is of crucial importance for targeted optimization of composition and microstructural design but hardly addressed to date. Herein, a model-like Si/Gr blended electrode and special electrochemical cell is introduced to directly capture the component specific behaviors for the first time. This includes studies of the formation cycles, the reaction distribution between Si and Gr, the component-specific contributions to the capacity at different charge and discharge rates, and the internal dynamics during pulse loads and subsequent relaxation. The deconvolution of the components' behavior during operation provides fundamental insights that contribute to a profound understanding and targeted optimization of Si/Gr blended electrodes. Furthermore, the application of the presented experimental approach can serve scientists to identify and study other advanced materials combinations as blended anodes for rechargeable batteries.