3 years ago

Understanding the role of lithium polysulfide solubility in limiting lithium-sulfur cell capacity

Understanding the role of lithium polysulfide solubility in limiting lithium-sulfur cell capacity
Although the cathode of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries has a theoretical specific capacity of 1,672mAhg−1, its practical capacity is much smaller than this value and depends on the electrolyte/sulfur ratio. The operation of Li-S batteries under lean electrolyte conditions can be challenging, especially in the case when the solubility of lithium polysulfide (LiPS) sets an upper bound for polysulfide dissolution. In this work, specially designed cathode structures and electrolyte configurations were built in order to analyze the effects of LiPS solubility on cell capacity. Two reaction pathways involving the reduction of LiPS in liquid and solid phase are proposed and analyzed. We show that at discharge rates above 0.4mAcm−2 the reaction in the liquid phase dominates the discharge process. Once the electrolyte becomes saturated, the solid phase LiPS cannot be further reduced and does not contribute to the capacity of the cells. This phenomenon prevents Li-S batteries from achieving their high theoretical specific capacity. Finally, the specific energy of the Li-S cell is reevaluated and discussed considering the limitation imposed by LiPS solubility.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0013468617315414

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