Chemomechanics of ionically conductive ceramics for electrical energy conversion and storage
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Functional materials for energy conversion and storage exhibit strong coupling between electrochemistry and mechanics. For example, ceramics developed as electrodes for both solid oxide fuel cells and batteries exhibit cyclic volumetric expansion upon reversible ion transport. Such chemomechanical coupling is typically far from thermodynamic equilibrium, and thus is challenging to quantify experimentally and computationally. In situ measurements and atomistic simulations are under rapid development to explore how this coupling can be used to potentially improve both device performance and durability. Here, we review the commonalities of coupling between electrochemical and mechanical states in fuel cell and battery materials, illustrating with specific cases the progress in materials processing, in situ characterization, and computational modeling and simulation. We also highlight outstanding questions and opportunities in these applications – both to better understand the limiting mechanisms within the materials and to significantly advance the durability and predictability of device performance required for renewable energy conversion and storage.