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PhD student (m/f/d)
Investigation of cellulose and related binders as additives for lithium-ion batteries

Organizational unit

Institute for Applied Materials - Energy Storage Systems (IAM-ESS)

Job description

The public and economic acceptance of lithium-ion batteries in electromobility and stationary applications is affected by the still high costs and the unfavorable carbon footprint of the production process. For this reason, developments are required that make manufacturing greener and more sustainable. A promising approach is to use processes for the production of battery electrodes in which the organic solvents currently used are replaced by water. However, this substitution is challenging as water interacts with many materials and processes along the process chain. Negative consequences affecting battery performance and lifetime can also result from process additives that are not adequately matched to their aqueous environment.

Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose (CMC) is established as a water-compatible binder for the aqueous processing of electrodes for lithium-ion batteries. Although it is usually complemented with a secondary component, for example a latex binder, CMC plays a dominating main role as it does not only provide mechanical strength but also beneficially impacts manufacturing and electrode structure. Despite its widespread use, CMC still offers a high degree of potential for improvement. To realize the full potential of aqueous processing, a deeper understanding of the performance principles of CMC and related binders is particularly necessary.

The goal of the thesis is to gain the scientific background of the influences of CMC and related polysaccharide binders in lithium-ion battery production. This includes the investigation of slurry properties, the impact of the binder on electrode manufacturing and cell performance. Special emphasis should be given on the effects of structurally modified CMC types. Further tasks are the characterization of the additive distribution and the determination of the aging behavior.

We offer you the opportunity to complete the promotion within three years. During this time, you will work in an interdisciplinary working group, and you will have access to the excellent research infrastructure and experimental facilities at KIT. The work will be performed in cooperation with a global chemistry company for cellulose products, giving you good insights into industrial production too.

Starting date


Personal qualification

You have a university degree (Diploma (Uni) / Master) in chemistry or materials science. Experience in the field of electrochemistry is desirable, additional knowledge in polymer chemistry of advantage.

Contract duration

limited to 3 Years

Application up to


Contact Person in line-management

For further information, please contact Dr. Werner Bauer, e-mail: / phone +49 721 608 22990.

Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 34-2021.

Ausschreibungsnummer: 34-2021

Recognized severely disabled persons will be preferred if they are equally qualified.


Personnel Support is provided by:
Personalservice (PSE) - Human Resources
Mr Meschar
Phone: +49 721 608-25029,

Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany