Commercial lithium ion cells are now optimised for either high energy density or high power density. There is a trade off in cell design between the power and energy requirements. A tear down protocol has been developed, to investigate the internal components and cell engineering of nine cylindrical cells, with different power–energy ratios. The cells designed for high power applications used smaller particles of the active material in both the anodes and the cathodes. The cathodes for high power cells had higher porosities, but a similar trend was not observed for the anodes. In terms of cell design, the coat weights and areal capacities were lower for high power cells. The tag arrangements were the same in eight out of nine cells, with tags at each end of the anode, and one tag on the cathode. The thicknesses of the current collectors and separators were based on the best (thinnest) materials available when the cells were designed, rather than materials optimised for power or energy. To obtain high power, the resistance of each component is reduced as low as possible, and the lithium ion diffusion path lengths are minimised. This information illustrates the significant evolution of materials and components in lithium ion cells in recent years, and gives insight into designing higher power cells in the future.
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