Three dimensional studies of particle failure in silicon based composite electrodes for lithium ion batteries

Joseph Gonzalez, Ke Sun, Meng Huang, John Lambros, Shen Dillon, Ioannis Chasiotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Silicon based composite electrodes for lithium ion batteries are of significant interest because of their potential to be high capacity alternatives to the commonly used graphitic carbon anodes. A drawback to their use, however, is the Si particle debonding and fracture that occurs as a result of the volumetric expansion by the lithium host particles upon lithiation of the anode electrode. We use X-ray micro computed tomography to visualize the evolution of the internal microstructure of a silicon-based electrode before and after four lithiation steps during the first half cycle of the cell. We develop a novel threshold edge detect method to perform 3D volumetric measurements of silicon particle expansion. According to our results, 100% lithiation of the composite anode resulted in up to 290% volume expansion of individual Si particles. Furthermore, the global and localized image intensity histogram profiles from 3D data were used to analyze the silicon particle X-ray attenuation effects as a function of lithiation: a decreasing attenuation with lithiation and the propagation of the reaction front through a core-shell process between the original state and 25% lithiation of the silicon-based electrode have been observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-343
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Dec 10 2014


  • Lithium ion battery
  • Particle damage
  • Particle fracture
  • Silicon
  • Volume expansion
  • X-ray tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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