Free Standing Silicon Microparticle and Self-Healing Polymer Composite for High-Energy Lithium-Ion Anode Applications

Wednesday, 4 October 2017: 14:40
Maryland D (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
D. Kim (KAIST), S. Hyun (Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM)), and S. M. Han (EEWS, KAIST)
Developing a commercially viable silicon anode as a replacement for graphite has been the topic of intense research and discussion. Numerous attempts have been made including the use of nanoscale structures smaller than silicon’s critical fracture size (e.g. nanoparticles, nanowires, nanotubes, etc.). However, nanoscale structures, while sufficiently effective in lab scale, are difficult and expensive to scale up. To address this issue, applying a thin coat of polymer with self-healing chemistries has been reported as an effective remedy to enhance the cycle life of the silicon microparticle anode. The self-healing chemistry enabled mechanical fractures generated during the cycling process to self-heal. As a result, excellent cycle life was obtained compared to conventional microscale anodes. However, there still is room to improve the mechanical and electrochemical performances of the anode, most notably areal capacity and flexibility, while using large scale processes. In this study, a free standing silicon microparticle and self-healing polymer (SiSHP) composite is fabricated demonstrating long cycle life while still retaining high capacity (up to ~2,800mAhg-1 and ~3.5mAhcm-2) without a metal foil current collector. SiSHP composite is prepared by simple, inexpensive, and scalable approach. The SiSHP composite consists of silicon microparticles embedded within a self-healing polymeric matrix providing sufficient space for volume expansion during lithiation. The self-healing chemistry reduces irreversible loss of electric contact due to mechanical degradation prevalent in conventional slurry cast silicon electrode design. In addition, because the SiSHP composite eliminates the need for a metal current collector, adhesion issues between the electrode and current collector that arise with repeated bending are eliminated, thereby ensuring minimal loss in mechanical and electrochemical properties even after undergoing repeated bending. We found that a 1:1 Si/SHP weight ratio with 10 wt. % carbon conductive additive exhibits the optimal balance between high capacity and providing sufficient polymer matrix for stable cycling behavior. The fabricated SiSHP composite is moldable into the required shape and dimension ranging from millimeter to tens of centimeter-scale. The freestanding feature of the SiSHP composite anode eliminates the need for a metal foil current collector thereby reducing the non-active mass, which is beneficial to enhancing capacity and energy density of Lithium-ion cells.