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Solutal buoyancy and electrovortex flow in liquid metal batteries

Abstract : Solutal buoyancy has a large impact on the flow of the alloy phase composing the positive electrode in liquid metal batteries. During discharge solutal buoyancy creates a stabilizing stratification, during charge it creates a vigorous solutal convection. In this article we provide new physical understandings of the role of solutal buoyancy during both charge and discharge. In particular we find that during discharge the electrovortex mechanism is in general not strong enough to counter the stabilizing effect of solutal buoyancy, and therefore this mechanism cannot be used to mix the alloy as is sometimes suggested in the literature. We show that the mixing capability of a generic flow in the alloy phase can be estimated by comparing the typical flow magnitude U to two velocity scales: U p and U m. Below U p the flow cannot mix the alloy, and above U m the flow significantly opposes solutal buoyancy. Although we focus on Li||Pb-based batteries, these simple mixing criteria can be used during the discharging phase in other types of liquid batteries. We also present new, fully three-dimensional simulations of solutal convection during the charging cycle. These simulations suggest scaling laws for the magnitude of the convective flow, the time for the onset of solutal convection, and the typical inhomogeneity level in the alloy during charge. We propose physical arguments to explain these scaling laws.
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Contributor : Caroline Nore Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, September 6, 2021 - 3:38:00 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 6:44:40 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 7:04:01 PM


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W. Herreman, S. Bénard, Caroline Nore, P. Personnettaz, L. Cappanera, et al.. Solutal buoyancy and electrovortex flow in liquid metal batteries. Physical Review Fluids, American Physical Society, 2020, 5 (7), pp.074501. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevFluids.5.074501⟩. ⟨hal-03335872⟩



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