nanoHUB-U: Introduction to the Materials Science of Rechargeable Batteries

A free self-paced course distilling the essentials of the materials science of rechargeable batteries.

  1. batteries
  2. dendrites
  3. energy storage
  4. lithium ion batteries
  5. materials science
  6. nanoHUB-U
  7. NCN Group - Batteries
  8. NCN Group - Energy Conversion and Storage
  9. NCN Group - Materials Science
  10. rechargeable batteries


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This course aims to introduce students to the materials science of rechargeable batteries using a unique, “bottom up” approach.

Scientific Overview

(non-YouTube version)

Course Objectives

This course will provide an introduction to the fundamentals behind the equilibrium and time-dependent response of existing and emerging chemistries of Li-ion battery materials. Effects of material selection and processing on the performance and reliability are presented as a means to develop conceptual guidelines to understand and improve battery designs. Example applications such as intercalation, SEI, and dendrite growth are presented. Integration of experimental microstructural aspects to coarse-graining measured properties, such as porosity, tortuosity and its associated reactivity, and classic and emerging battery architectures are presented. Principles summarizing the response of battery architectures are formulated and applied to propose battery design guidelines, to review existing porous electrode theory descriptions, and to summarize the current state-of-the-art of battery technology and its associated metrology.

Who Should Take the Course

Junior, Seniors, and Graduate Students with an interest in developing an understanding of fundamental materials science concepts associated to battery materials.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Basic Concepts, Fundamentals, and Definitions

  • L1.1: The Battery Potential
  • L1.2: Charge Figures of Merit in a Battery
  • L1.3: Energy and Power in a Battery
  • L1.4: Polarization Loses
  • L1.5: Summary

Unit 2: Thermodynamics of Battery Materials

  • L2.1: Electrochemical Equilibrium
  • L2.2: The Electrochemical Potential
  • L2.3: Applications to Different Material Systems
  • L2.4: Thermal Effects in the Equilibrium Potential
  • L2.5: Unit 2 Summary
  • L2.6: The NaNiCl System

Unit 3: Tortuosity and Porosity in Battery Materials

  • L3.1: Tortuosity in Porous Electrodes
  • L3.2: Effect of Processing on Tortuosity
  • L3.3: nhomogeneities and Correlations
  • L3.4: Tortuosity Anisotropy in Porous Electrodes and Separators
  • L3.5: Unit 3 Summary

Unit 4: Reversible and Irreversible Interfacial Reactions

  • L4.1: The Butler-Volmer Relation
  • L4.2: Interface Related Reactions
  • L4.3: Dendrites in Rechargeable Batteries I
  • L4.4: Dendrites in Rechargeable Batteries II
  • L4.5: Unit 4 Summary

Unit 5: Battery Architectures and Design Guidelines

  • L5.1: Electrolytes, Salts, and Seperator Materials
  • L5.2: The Reaction Zone Model
  • L5.3: Advanced Battery Architectures
  • L5.4: Porous Electrode Theory
  • L5.5: Unit 5 Summary

Course Resources

  • A free account is required to access some course components.
  • Homework exercises with solutions.
  • An online forum, hosted by nanoHUB. Students enrolled in the course will be able to interact with one another.
  • Practice exams.

 Introduction to the Materials Science of Rechargeable Batteries first published on nanoHUB-U, January 2014.


Creative Commons BY License


This self-paced course is available at no cost.

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