Technische Universität München (TUM) scientists have found a way to view the inside of a working battery without cutting them open. The scientists tested a battery in both charging and discharging states in a neutron beam of a material research diffractometer to detect the beam’s diffraction.
Using the signals, the team was able to indirectly determine the amount of metallic lithium that formed to understand more about lithium plating. Lithium plating leads to a drop in battery performance, but little is known about this phenomenon. The researchers found the faster a charging process is; the more metallic lithium is formed. Low temperature also fosters the formation of metallic lithium. Additional testing is being performed to better understand lithium plating and to find out how quickly batteries can be charged before lithium plating occurs.