A major factor limiting the power density of Lithium-ion batteries is the inherent slow bulk diffusion of ions within the active material. In order to overcome this limitation, various nanostructured electrodes have been described in the literature. These comprise, among others, nanowires and -flakes, nanoporous structures, or hierarchical porous particles. These structures allow for reduced concentration gradients and hence for reduced mechanical stresses. On the other hand, they maximize the impact of surface stresses on the material behavior. In a recent publication it has been shown that the bulk stresses induced by surface stress can actually reduce the accessible capacity of electrode particles (Stein et al., J. Power Sources 332:154, 2016).
A promising structure for battery electrodes are inverse opal nanostructures (e.g. described by Chalker et al., Langmuir 24:5975, 2017). In this study, we investigate the chemo-mechanical behavior of these open structures under intercalation. The employed model comprises stress-driven bulk diffusion, surface stress, and electrochemical reactions governed by the Butler-Volmer equation. We discuss the impact of surface stresses, size effects, and mechanical stresses on the overall system behavior.