Multiscale tomographic analysis of the thermal failure of Na-Ion batteries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • J.B. Robinson
  • T.M.M. Heenan
  • J.R. Jervis
  • C. Tan
  • D.J.L. Brett
  • P.R. Shearing

Colleges, School and Institutes


In recent years, the ability to examine the processes that cause the catastrophic failure of batteries as a result of thermal runaway has improved substantially. In this work, the effect of thermal runaway on the microstructure of the electrodes of a Na-ion battery is examined using X-ray computed tomography for the first time. The thermal failure induced via accelerating rate calorimetry enabled the examination of failed electrodes, which were subsequently compared with fresh samples. Pre- and post-mortem microstructural analysis shows changes in both electrodes as a result of the thermal runaway process at the micrometre length-scale. It is seen that the cathode shows the largest changes in structure, with the anode remaining morphologically similar post-failure at the sub-micron length-scale. The formation of a highly X-ray attenuating layer, which is proposed to be a metallic product of the thermal runaway reaction, is observed, indicating that the thermal runaway mechanisms which occur in Na-ion batteries may be similar to those reported for Li-ion systems.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-368
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Early online date18 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Thermal runaway, Na-ion battery, X-ray computed tomography, Microstructural analysis, Battery failure, Accelerating rate calorimetry