How to Digest Lithium-Ion Battery Materials for ICP-OES Analysis

Multiwave 7000 with PDC (Pressurized Digestion Cavity) technology is a powerful tool to digest various Li-Ion battery materials for subsequent element analysis in an easy way.

The global market for rechargeable batteries is largely driven by increasing demand in electric vehicles, grid storage and portable consumer devices, in which Li-ion batteries are the preferred option so far.

Research & Development departments are steadily developing various alternative materials for next-generation batteries with increased storage capacities, faster charging and longer overall lifespan. In addition, production and QC requirements are becoming more stringent for Li-ion battery manufacturers as well.

As all batteries reach the end of their useful life at some point, recycling and waste management companies take them over to perform high-quality recycling of their core components, which is essential to reduce the use of primary raw materials.

Consequently, it is important to determine the exact and consistent element composition of the electrode raw materials during development and quality control in battery manufacturing, as these affect the performance and safety of the end products. In addition, concentrations of impurity levels must also be accurately measured in the battery components.

Ageing of Li-ion batteries represents a major drawback, which affects as a complex multi-material process practically all cell components. Numerous ageing mechanisms occur due to degradation processes of individual materials and their interactions with each other. Thus, quantitative information about the lithium or transition metal distribution in the bulk or the surface of the electrodes is needed to understand and to set countermeasures to minimize the negative effects on battery performance1.

Spatially resolved analysis of individual material particles is often combined with inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy of larger sample quantities, wherein this technique requires adequately digested samples. Microwave-assisted acid digestion is the optimum tool to prepare these very different samples. As the materials differ a lot, appropriate digestion methods are chosen depending on the sample matrix and analytes of interest.

Multiwave 7000 with its well-established PDC offers an advanced temperature level of up to 300 °C, thus providing complete digestions for demanding samples.

In order to demonstrate its suitability a range of different Li-ion battery components were digested with variable reaction media, only pooled according to their temperature requirements for digestion.

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