A lithium ion battery (LIB) cathode comprises three major components: an active material, an electrical conductivity additive and a binder. The composite combination of binder and electrical conductivity additive, the carbon binder domain (CBD) is electrochemically inert. Preparation of a LIB cathode strongly influences the dispersion of the above-mentioned constituents leading to the formation of distinct pore and electrical conduction networks. The resulting structure thus governs the performance of LIBs.
The presence of CBD is essential for the structural integrity and sufficient electrical conductivity of the LIB cathode. However, CBD abundance in LIB cathodes leads to unfavourable gravimetrical and volumetrical consequences. Increasing CBD content adds to the weight of the LIBs, thus negatively impacting the energy density. Furthermore, increased electrical conductivity is won at a cost of ionic conductivity as CBD breaches the pore networks in the cathode microstructure.
The study aims to establish a link between the various possibilities of rupture mechanisms that eventualize during slurry preparation to the resulting cathode microstructures and hence to the performance of LIBs by means of artificially generated cathode geometries and changing constituent size distributions. Since the performance determining processes occur at the microstructural scale, which are often very tedious to study via experimental research, the study makes use of scale-resolving microstructural, numerical, simulations. The numerical simulation results will provide guidelines for LIB cathode preparation.