Bioinspired, tree-root-like interfacial designs for structural batteries with enhanced mechanical properties

Tianwei JIN, Yirui MA, Zechen XIONG, Xiaoyu FAN, Yu LUO, Zeyu HUI, Xi CHEN, Yuan YANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Structural batteries are attractive for weight reduction in vehicles, such as cars and airplanes, which requires batteries to have both excellent mechanical properties and electrochemical performance. This work develops a scalable and feasible tree-root-like lamination at the electrode/separator interface, which effectively transfers load between different layers of battery components and thus dramatically enhances the flexural modulus of pouch cells from 0.28 to 3.1 GPa. The underlying mechanism is also analyzed by finite element simulations. Meanwhile, the interfacial lamination has a limited effect on the electrochemical performance of Li-ion cells. A graphite/LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2 full cell with such interfacial lamination delivers a steady discharge capacity of 148.6 mAh g−1 at C/2 and 95.5% retention after 500 cycles. Moreover, the specific energy only decreases by 3%, which is the smallest reduction reported so far in structural batteries. A prototype of “electric wings” is also demonstrated, which allows an aircraft model to fly steadily. This work illustrates that engineering interfacial adhesion is an effective and scalable approach to develop structural batteries with excellent mechanical and electrochemical properties. © 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2100997
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The authors appreciate the funding support from AFOSR (FA9550-20-1-0233) and helpful discussions about simulations with Juner Zhu and Wei Li at MIT.


  • finite element simulation
  • interfacial design
  • specific energy
  • structural energy storage


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