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If you dig into the technical details of how lithium ion batteries work, it discusses "intercalation" of the anode and cathode plates, which basically means that they have a nanoscale comb-like structure that allows ions to slide in and out of the plate surface, without causing the plates to be chemically eaten away and damaged with each charge and discharge cycle.

For an example of this comb-like structure, see figure 4 of this research paper:

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Does curling the plates to fit them inside a cylindrical cell have any negative impact on the performance characteristics of this comb-like structure?

Imagine taking a flat plastic hair comb, heating it to soften the plastic, and then curling the spine. The comb tines are either spread far apart in a useless manner, or the tines are bunched up and overlap in an equally useless manner.

It seems possible to me that physically bending or curling the nanoscale structures of an intercalated plate could have similar negative effects on its performance.

Is there is any measurable loss of performance between the tight inner layers and the more gently curled outer layers of a cylindrical lithium ion battery?

I notice that the inner core of many cylindrical lithium ion cells is hollow. Is this because the loss of performance is so severe that it is not worth the effort to attempt to completely pack the center with extreme curled plates?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just an uninformed opinion but if the combs really are nanoscale, then your hair comb analogy should not apply since any macro-level curvature experienced by the plates should be irrelevant as far as the comb is concerned since their height above the plate is insignificant relative to the plate's radius of curvature, and there basal dimensions are so small such that the local curvature of the plate is approximately straight. Could it just be a manufacturing convenience? \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Sep 23 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ i think that the comb should be bent to a radius of several hundred meters or possibly several kilometers to be equivalent to the nano structure \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Sep 24 at 2:02

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