Micah Thorpe

MIT Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Yet-Ming Chiang
Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Website: LinkedIn
Research Poster
Lightning Talk


My name is Micah Thorpe and I am from Germantown, Maryland. I am currently pursuing my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and my research interests include batteries and thin film depositions. I plan on pursuing my Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering upon completing my undergraduate degree. Along my career journey I plan on taking every opportunity to introduce STEM to students that belong underrepresented minority groups in my community to help create more diversity in the STEM field. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance and support that I received from my parents and my school that sparked my passion for engineering and would love to do the same for the generation that comes behind me. I am also an avid sports fan and enjoy playing basketball and videogames in my free time. I have also played the drums since I was a toddler which has resulted in a love for all types of music.

2021 Abstract

Lithium Dendrite Behavior in Ceramic Solid-State Electrolyte

Micah Thorpe1, Cole Fincher2 and Yet-Ming Chiang3
1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland Baltimore County
2, 3Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Solid-state electrolyte (SSE) lithium-ion batteries are a safer alternative to liquid electrolyte lithium-ion batteries. Lithium dendrite formation is a phenomenon that is observed in both liquid electrolyte and solid electrolyte systems, where lithium ions travelling across the cell deposit in branches across the cell. Once lithium dendrites grow to the opposite side of a battery, the battery is shorted; causing battery failure. Understanding of lithium dendrite formation in battery cells is difficult since the internal behavior of a battery cell during cycling is mostly observed through tracking current and voltage of the cells during cycling and ex-situ analysis. In order to further understand the behavior of lithium filaments in SSEs, a microscopically recorded probe system is used to propagate and visualize dendrite formation and SSE crack growth. Various intervals of constant current are applied to the system. It is expected that with current increases, the crack will grow at a faster rate. Sudden increases in current tended to result in cracks splitting from one to multiple crack tips. The ability to instigate crack branching can delay the failure of a battery by diverting dendrite growth away from the opposite electrode.