One of the practical bottlenecks associated with commercialization of lithium-air cells is the choice of an appropriate electrolyte that provides the required combination of cell performance, cyclability and safety. With the help of a two-dimensional multiphysics model, we attempt to narrow down the electrolyte choice by providing insights into the effect of the transport properties of electrolyte, electrode saturation (flooded versus gas diffusion), and electrode thickness on a single discharge performance of a lithium-air button cell cathode for five different electrolytes including water, ionic liquid, carbonate, ether, and sulfoxide. The 2D distribution of local current density and concentrations of electrochemically active species (O2 and Li+) in the cathode is also discussed w.r.t electrode saturation. Furthermore, the efficacy of species transport in the cathode is quantified by introducing two parameters, firstly, a transport efficiency that gives local insight into the distribution of mass transfer losses, and secondly, an active electrode volume that gives global insight into the cathode volume utilization at different current densities. A detailed discussion is presented toward understanding the design-induced performance limitations in a Li-air button cell prototype.
Mayur, M., & Bessler, W. G. (2017). Two-dimensional computational fluid dynamics analysis of transport limitations of different electrolyte systems in a lithium-air button cell cathode. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 164(11), E3489–E3498. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.0451711jes