Advanced fibrous electrode substrates for use as substrates for the nickel electrodes in NiMH automotive cells are being studied analytically and experimentally. The electrodes must resist local failures under hundreds of charge/discharge cycles, during which these fibrous networks (impregnated with active material) are subjected to swelling loads induced by the cell electrochemical reaction. These fibrous materials can be effectively used as substrates for chemical reactions because of their combinations of high surface area and high conductivity. It is shown here these materials’ conductivity can be characterized using a statistical technique in conjunction with an adaptation of a classic continuum model. These approaches are presented here, and compared with experimental data on conduction in fibrous media. The new approach provides an efficient way of predicting the gradual loss in performance observed in battery materials.

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