Advanced 3D Imaging, Analysis and Characterisation of Zn Dendrite Formation in a Zn-Air Battery   

Monday, 27 July 2015
Hall 2 (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre)
M. Biton, F. Tariq, V. Yufit, B. Wu, and N. P. Brandon (Imperial College London)
Rising global demand for energy supply, storage and portability in a sustainable manner needs significant improvements to be made in the next generation of batteries, both in terms of performance and lifetime. However, despite their importance, battery electrode microstructures remain relatively poorly understood. 

The performance of the battery is dependent on the nano and micro-structure achieved during manufacture.  Furthermore microstructural evolution during operation may degrade electrochemical performance. The growth of dendrites represents a limiting failure mechanism in some battery systems; in particular this can be a challenge in zinc-air batteries. Tomographic techniques allow the direct 3D imaging and characterisation of complex microstructures, including the observation and quantification of dendrite growth.

Here we present results from 3D x-ray and FIB-SEM tomography of Zn dendrite formation in a zinc-air battery, down to resolutions of tens of nanometers, enabling analysis of dendrite micro-structure.

This approach is shown to be effective in understanding how dendrites grow, and demonstrates that tomography coupled with modeling can provide new insights into degradation mechanisms associated with dendrite growth.