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Fracture of electrodes in lithium-ion batteries caused by fast charging
During charging or discharging of a lithium-ion battery, lithium is extracted from one electrode and inserted into the other. This extraction-insertion reaction causes the electrodes to deform. An electrode is often composed of small active particles in a matrix. If the battery is charged at a rate faster than lithium can homogenize in an active particle by diffusion, the inhomogeneous distribution of lithium results in stresses that may cause the particle to fracture. The distributions of lithium and stress in a LiCoO2 particle are calculated. The energy release rates are then calculated for the particle containing preexisting cracks. These calculations predict the critical rate of charging and size of the particle, below which fracture is averted.