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The high-rate, high-capacity potential of LiFePO4-based lithium-ion battery cathodes has motivated numerous experimental and theoretical studies aiming to realize such performance through nano-sizing, tailoring of particle shape through synthesis conditions, and doping. Here, a granular mechanics study of microstructures formed by dense jammed packings of experimentally and theoretically inspired LiFePO4 particle shapes is presented. A strong dependence of the resultant packing structures on particle shapes is observed, in which columnar structures aligned with the  direction inhibit diffusion along  in anisotropic LiFePO4. Transport limitations are induced by  columnar order and lead to catastrophic performance degradation in anisotropic LiFePO4 electrodes. Further, judicious mixing of nanoplatelets with additive nanoparticles can frustrate columnar ordering and thereby enhance the rate capability of LiFePO4 electrodes by nearly an order of magnitude.
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Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
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