Lithium and Sodium Ion Binding Mechanisms and Diffusion Rates in Lignin- Based Hard Carbon Models

DG Kizzire and AM Richter and DP Harper and DJ Keffer, ACS OMEGA, 6, 19883-19892 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.1c02787

Hard carbons are the primary candidate for the anode of nextgeneration sodium-ion batteries for large-scale energy storage, as they are sustainable and can possess high charge capacity and long cycle life. These properties along with diffusion rates and ion storage mechanisms are highly dependent on nanostructures. This work uses reactive molecular dynamics simulations to examine lithium and sodium ion storage mechanisms and diffusion in lignin-based hard carbon model systems with varying nanostructures. It was found that sodium will preferentially localize on the surface of curved graphene fragments, while lithium will preferentially bind to the hydrogen dense interfaces of crystalline and amorphous carbon domains. The ion storage mechanisms are explained through ion charge and energy distributions in coordination with snapshots of the simulated systems. It was also revealed that hard carbons with small crystalline volume fractions and moderately sized sheets of curved graphene will yield the highest sodium-ion diffusion rates at similar to 10(-7) cm(2)/s. Self-diffusion coefficients were determined by mean square displacement of ions in the models with extension through a confined random walk theory.

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