Molecular dynamics modeling of lithium ion intercalation induced change in the mechanical properties of LixMn2O4
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The objective of this study is to understand the fracture mechanisms in the lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4) electrode at the molecular level by studying mechanical properties of the material at different values of the State of Charge (SOC) using the principles of molecular dynamics (MD). A 2 × 2 × 2 cubic structure of the LiMn2O4 unit cell containing eight lithium ions, eight trivalent manganese ions, eight tetravalent manganese ions, and 32 oxygen ions is studied using a large-scale atomic/molecular massively parallel simulator. As part of the model validation, the lattice parameter and volume changes of LixMn2O4 as a function of SOC (0 < x < 1) have been studied and validated with respect to the experimental data. This validated model has been used for a parametric study involving the SOC value, strain rate (charge and discharge rate), and temperature. The MD simulations suggest that the lattice constant varies from 8.042 Å to 8.235 Å during a full discharging cycle, in agreement with the experimental data. The material at higher SOC shows more ductile behavior compared to low SOC values. Furthermore, yield and ultimate stresses are less at lower SOC values except when SOC values are within 0.125 and 0.375, verifying the phase transformation theory in this range. The strain rate does not affect the fully intercalated material significantly but seems to influence the material properties of the partially charged electrode. Finally, a study of the effect of temperature suggests that diffusion coefficient values for both high and low-temperature zones follow an Arrhenius profile, and the results are successfully explained using the vacancy diffusion mechanism.
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