Anode vs Cathode Materials for Lithium Batteries – Complete guidelines

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Anode vs Cathode materials

  • Battery Anode: Common Anode materials for lithium-ion batteries include lithium manganese oxide, lithium cobalt oxide, lithium iron phosphate, and ternary materials, etc.
  • Battery Cathode: Commonly Cathode materials include carbon and silicon-based materials, etc. This article provides an analysis of the characteristics of these materials and the fields in which they are commonly used.
Cathodes vs Anodes of an Electrochemical Cell
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The Lithium ion battery’s main working principle is the movement of lithium ions between Anode vs Cathode electrodes. It can be recharged multiple times and is a type of rechargeable battery. The battery’s main components are the electrolyte, Anode vs Cathode electrode sheets, and diaphragm, regardless of its shape. Currently, China, Japan, and South Korea are the main producers of lithium-ion batteries, and the main lithium-ion application markets are cell phones and computers, and automobiles.

As lithium-ion batteries continue to advance, their applications are expanding, and the use of battery Anode electrode materials has changed from a single to a diversified direction. These materials include olivine lithium iron phosphate, layered lithium cobaltate, spinel lithium manganate, and more. Using multiple materials together is now possible.

From the technical development aspect, it can be seen that more new battery Anode electrode materials will be produced in the future. For the Anode electrode material of power battery, it has more strict requirements in cost, safety performance, cycling ability, and energy density.

In the field of application materials, due to the higher cost and lower safety of lithium cobaltate, it is usually applied to general consumer batteries in specific use, and it is difficult to meet the relevant requirements of power batteries. The other materials listed above have been fully utilized in the current power batteries.

Among lithium-ion battery anode vs cathode materials, battery cathode electrode materials are an important component that can have a great impact on the overall battery performance. At present, battery cathode materials are mainly divided into two categories, one is the commercial application of carbon materials, such as natural graphite, soft carbon, etc., and the other is in the state of research and development, but has a promising market prospect, such as silicon-based materials, alloy materials, tin-gold materials, etc.

Anode vs Cathode Materials
Figure / Silicon carbon battery anode material structure diagram

Carbon Cathode Electrode Materials

This type of material is a balanced Cathode electrode material in terms of energy density, cycling capacity, and cost investment, It is also the main material that promotes the development of lithium-ion batteries. Carbon materials can be divided into two categories: graphitized carbon materials and hard carbon. Among them, the former mainly include artificial graphite as well as natural graphite.

Anode vs Cathode Materials
Figure / artificial graphite (left) natural graphite (right)

Artificial graphite’s formation process: Graphitization of soft carbon materials at temperatures above 2500°C. MCMB is one of the most commonly used artificial graphites. Its structure is spherical, its surface texture is relatively smooth, and its diameter is about 5-40 μm. Due to the influence of the smoothness of the surface, the probability of a reaction between the electrode surface and the electrolyte is reduced, thereby reducing the irreversible capacity. At the same time, the spherical structure can facilitate the intercalation and extraction of lithium ions in any direction, which has a great role in promoting the stability of the anode vs cathode structure.

Natural graphite also has many advantages. It has high crystallinity, more embedded positions, and low prices. It is an ideal lithium-ion battery material. However, it also has certain disadvantages, such as poor compatibility when reacting with the electrolyte, and many defects on the surface when it is crushed, which will have a relatively large adverse effect on its anode vs cathode charging or discharging performance.

In addition, the formation process of hard carbon is as follows: a carbon material that is difficult to achieve graphitization is pyrolyzed at a high temperature of 2500°C to obtain carbon of a polymer compound. It can be observed through a high-power microscope that hard carbon is formed by the accumulation of many nano-spheres, showing a cluster of flowers. The amorphous region of the hard carbon surface has a large number of nanopores, and the capacity far exceeds the standard capacity of graphite, but this will have a large battery Cathode effect on the cycling ability.

Silicon anode material

Since the storage capacity of silicon is relatively abundant and the price is relatively low, it is ideal for applying it as a new Cathode electrode material in lithium-ion batteries. However, since silicon is a semiconductor, its conductivity is poor, and the volume will expand several times in the process of embedding, and the highest expansion can reach 370%, which will lead to active silicon powdering and falling off, making it difficult to interact with electrons. This in turn causes the capacity to shrink rapidly.

To make silicon have a good application in lithium-ion battery anode vs cathode materials, effective control of its volume during charging or discharging is necessary to ensure its capacity and cycling ability. This can be achieved by using the following methods: First, using nano-sized silicon. Second, combining silicon with non-active matrix, active matrix, and adhesive. Third, using silicon films, which are already considered the most suitable commercial Cathode electrode material for the next generation.

Anode material for lithium ion battery

Lithium cobalt acid

As battery cathode material, lithium cobalt oxide was one of the earliest materials applied and still remains the mainstream cathode material in consumer electronic products. Compared with other cathode materials, it has a higher operating voltage, stable voltage during charging or discharging, can meet the requirements of high current, and has strong cycle performance and high conductivity efficiency. The anode vs cathode material and battery production process is relatively stable. However, it also has many drawbacks, such as scarce resources, high prices, toxicity of cobalt, potential hazards during use, and adverse environmental impacts. Its safety cannot be guaranteed, which will become an important factor restricting its widespread development.

In its research, metal cation doping with Al3+, Mg2+, Ni2+, and other ions is most widely used. With the continuous advancement of research, metal cation doping with Al3+ and Mg2+ has begun to be used more.

There are mainly two methods for preparing lithium cobalt oxide: solid-phase synthesis and liquid-phase synthesis. The high-temperature solid-phase synthesis method is commonly used in industry. It mainly uses lithium salt, such as Li2CO3 or LiOH, and cobalt salt, such as CoCO3, in a 1:1 ratio to fuse together, and then is calcined at 600℃ to 900℃ to form lithium cobalt oxide. Currently, the application of lithium cobalt oxide in the market is mainly in the secondary battery market and has become the best choice for small high-density lithium-ion battery anode vs cathode materials.

Ternary cathode materials

Ternary cathode materials exhibit significant synergistic effects. Compared with lithium cobalt oxide, they have a significant advantage in thermal stability and lower anode vs cathode production costs, making them the best substitute material for lithium cobalt oxide. However, their low density and cyclic performance need to be improved. To address this, improved synthesis processes and ion doping can be used for adjustment.

Triple cathode materials are mainly used in cylindrical lithium-ion batteries with steel shells, aluminum shells, and other structures. However, in soft-pack batteries, their application is greatly restricted due to the expansion factor. In future applications, there are two main directions for their development. First, they can be developed in the direction of high manganese for small portable devices such as Bluetooth and mobile phones. Second, they can be developed in the direction of high nickel for areas with high energy density requirements such as electric bicycles and electric vehicles.

Lithium Iron phosphate

Lithium Iron phosphate is a material that exhibits good cycling performance and thermal stability during Anode vs Cathode charging and discharging. It provides strong safety protection during usage and is also environmentally friendly, causing minimal harm to the environment. Moreover, the material is relatively low-cost, making it the optimal material for large-scale battery module production in China’s battery industry. Its main application areas currently include electric vehicles, and portable mobile charging power sources, and it will continue to develop towards energy storage and portable power sources in the future.

Lithium Manganese Oxide

Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4) has strong safety and overcharge resistance in its applications. Due to the relatively abundant manganese resources in China, it has a low price and minimal environmental pollution. It is also non-toxic and easy to prepare in Anode vs Cathode industrial production. However, during Anode vs Cathode charging and discharging processes, its spinel structure is unstable, which leads to the Jahn-Teller effect. In addition, the dissolution of manganese at high temperatures can reduce the battery capacity, which limits its application.

Currently, the main application of lithium manganese oxide is in small batteries, such as in smartphones and digital products. It competes with lithium iron phosphate in the field of power batteries, and therefore, the development of the Anode vs Cathode trend is towards high energy, high density, and low cost.

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The lithium-ion battery industry is experiencing rapid growth as scientific and Anode vs Cathode technological advancements lead to widespread applications in smartphones, computers, and other products. This increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries presents significant opportunities for further development. In addition, the development of electric vehicles and energy storage systems provides new growth points for the industry. It is clear that future research efforts will focus on strengthening the role of lithium-ion batteries, leading to further updates and improvements in battery materials.

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