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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Solid State Multifunctional Batteries


Aerospace Systems Directorate, RQ/Aero Propulsion Systems

RO# Location
13.30.02.C0066 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337542


Name E-mail Phone
Howell, Thomas Grandfield 937-255-2372


The objective of this effort is to investigate novel approaches for mechanical strengthening of the electrochemical interfaces in multifunctional solid state batteries through modeling and simulation and/or laboratory experiments. There is a growing requirement for more electric power to support current and future Air Force needs, without necessarily having the luxury of affecting the component run-time, weight or volume. This need spans across many industries, particularly automotive and aerospace applications. Multifunctional batteries have recently gained attention as a potential integrated solution to closely-couple the energy storage device with the structure. Multifunctional batteries represent a synergistic approach to developing batteries on a systems level by considering electrical and mechanical performance parameters. The concept is to develop a multifunctional system that uses individual components to perform multiple functions while reducing the system weight and volume. Multifunctional batteries provide an opportunity to co-design and co-operate power-dense electrical systems without modifying the battery chemistry.

One of the primary challenges with this technology is how to maintain high electrochemical performance throughout the battery cell during mechanical loading as it is flexed to conform to the structure. Issues with maintaining good electrical connectivity are exacerbated at the electrode/electrolyte and current collector interfaces. Another challenge is maintaining high safety and reliability to avoid short-circuiting the cell during repeated mechanical loading and flexure of the cell. Solid state Li batteries may address the latter challenge by removing the flammable liquid electrolyte and replacing it with a solid separator.

Research interests include investigation of approaches for strengthening the electrochemical interfaces through modeling and simulation and/or laboratory experiments. These investigations would include exploring alternative novel electrode and electrolyte materials to be utilized in additive manufacturing methods to fabricate an all solid state battery.



Zhang Y, Ma J, Singh AK, Cao, L, Seo J, Rahn CD, Bakis CE, Hickner MA: Multifunctional structural lithium-ion battery for electric vehicles. Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures: p.1045389X16679021, 2016

Evanoff K, Benson J, Schauer M, Kovalenko I, Lashmore D, Ready WJ, Yushin, G: Ultra-strong silicon-coated carbon nanotube nonwoven fabric as a multifunctional lithium-ion battery anode. Acs Nano 6(11): 9837-9845, 2012

Snyder JF, Gienger EB, Wetzel ED: Performance metrics for structural composites with electrochemical multifunctionality. Journal of Composite Materials 49(15): 835-1848, 2015


Multifunctional batteries; Structural batteries; Additive manufacturing; Solid state batteries; Energy storage; Li-ion batteries; 3D printing; Electrochemistry;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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