An In Situ Synchrotron Study of Zinc Anode Planarization by a Bismuth Additive

Joshua W. Gallaway, Abhinav M. Gaikwad, Benjamin Hertzberg, Can K. Erdonmez, Yu Chen Karen Chen-Wiegart, Lev A. Sviridov, Kenneth Evans-Lutterodt, Jun Wang, Sanjoy Banerjee, Daniel Artemus Steingart

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Cyclic voltammetry of zinc plated from flowing alkaline zincate electrolyte with a bismuth additive showed a marked mass transport effect during metal layer deplating. This bismuth was added as Bi2O3 and had a saturated concentration of 26 ppm bismuth. Using a small, transparent window flow cell the mechanism was studied in situ using synchrotron X-rays. X-ray microdiffraction revealed that the metal-electrolyte interface was bismuth rich, and bismuth behaved in a manner similar to a surfactant. Transmission X-ray microscopy revealed that in the presence of bismuth additive, 5 [im raised features on the metal layer were preferentially dissolved during deplating. However, macro-morphology experiments demonstrated that at 26 ppm a detrimental bismuth buildup occurred over many cycles. By reducing additive concentration to 3 ppm a metal layer was planarized compared to a no-additive control, while avoiding the bismuth buildup. These findings suggested that 3 ppm bismuth could be used to planarize zinc metal layers such as those in flow-assisted zinc batteries. However, concentration will need to be well-controlled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A275-A284
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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