Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Chemical Engineering


The nickel hydroxide electrode is known to exhibit a stable hysteresis loop, with the potential on charge being higher than that on discharge at every state-of-charge (SOC). What we show here is that this loop created during a complete charge and discharge (i.e., boundary curves) is not sufficient to define the state of the system. Rather, internal paths within the boundary curves (i.e., scanning curves) can be generated that access potentials between the boundary curves. The potential obtained at any SOC, as well as how the material charges and discharges from that point, depends on the cycling history of the material. The implication of this phenomenon is that the potential of nickel-based batteries cannot be used as an indication of the SOC of the cell. Analysis of the boundary and scanning curves suggest that the electrode consists of a number of individual units or domains, each of which exhibits two or more metastable states. The cycling behavior of the nickel hydroxide electrode is discussed within the context of previously developed theoretical arguments regarding domain theory. Although the specific cause for the metastability in each domain is not understood, considerable insights are provided into the history-dependent behavior of the nickel hydroxide electrode. Finally, an empirical procedure is developed to predict the scanning curves based on the boundary curves