A salient effect of density on the dynamics of nonaqueous electrolytes

S Han, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 7, 46718 (2017).

DOI: 10.1038/srep46718

The mobility and solvation of lithium ions in electrolytes are crucial for the performance and safety of lithium ion batteries. It has been known that a single type of solvent cannot satisfy the requirements of both mobility and solvation simultaneously for electrolytes. Therefore, complex solvent mixtures have been used to optimize both properties. Here we present the effects of density on the dynamics and solvation of organic liquid electrolytes via extensive molecular dynamics simulations. Our study finds that a small variation in density can induce a significant effect on the mobility of electrolytes but does not influence the solvation structure of a lithium ion. It turns out that an adjustment of the density of electrolytes could provide a more effective way to enhance mobility than a control of the solvent mixture ratio of electrolytes. Our study reveals that the density change of electrolytes mainly affects the residence time of solvents in the first solvation shell of a lithium ion rather than the structural change of the solvation sheath. Finally, our results suggest an intriguing point for understanding and designing electrolytes of lithium ion batteries for better performance and safety.

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