Rebecca Mays ’21, Chemical and Biological Engineering

The prevalence of lithium-ion batteries in everyday products, from calculators to cars, makes their safety and functionality a priority. Too many charges or defects within these batteries can lead to internal metallic growths known as dendrites that can cause cells to short circuit. My research focused on studying the effects of different defect sizes in a cell’s separator. I simulated defects by compressing portions of the separator to create pore closure. I then laser-cut rectangles of various sizes into each compressed separator. I accumulated hundreds of images of cells containing dendrites, which provided an average image of where they are more likely to occur in cells containing defects. My work this summer provided useful insight into an academic lab setting. It gave me more confidence and knowledge related to conducting research and obtaining reliable results.