According to Energy Daily, scientists at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory found a solution to prevent lithium metal batteries with solid electrolytes from failing, which they said happened due to mechanical stress during rapid charging sessions.
Senior author William Chueh said that "just modest indentation, bending or twisting of the batteries can cause nanoscopic fissures in the materials to open and lithium to intrude into the solid electrolyte causing it to short circuit."
"Even dust or other impurities introduced in manufacturing can generate enough stress to cause failure", Chueh added.
The issue resides in the solid electrolytes that are being used for these batteries, which most are ceramic, a great material for faster charging and one that's also fireproof, which is critical.
At the same time, just as other ceramic materials, this type of electrolytes can crack, leading to short circuiting.
Researchers were able to demonstrate in 60 experimental ceramic-based batteries, that the material had microscopic cracks that are impossible to see with the naked eye, but those certainly affect the integrity of the cell once fast charging is applied.
The issue that causes this is the pressure, which is applying mechanical stress that damages the material, causing the battery to ultimately fail.
Now that researchers were able to understand what's causing solid-state ceramic-based batteries to fail, they can start improving the material either by using the same mechanical pressure to toughen it or by coating the electrolyte surface to prevent lithium from leaking into it.