Vacancy No. 37-2020

PhD student (f/m/d)

Investigation of PVDF latex binders for the water based processing of electrodes for lithium ion batteries

Job description

The public acceptance of electromobility is still limited due the high costs and the unfavorable carbon footprint of the production process for lithium ion batteries. One reason for this is the application of organic solvents at the manufacturing of electrodes, which make cost-intensive measures for worker protection, explosion prevention or emission control indispensable. Replacing the organic solvent-based with a water-based process would be a large step to a more sustainable and cost-reduced manufacturing process. However, the substitution of the organic solvent by water is challenging, since water interferes with many materials and levels of the production chain in a complex way. One necessary adjustment concerns the binders used, since the polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) binder established in the organic environment is not water-soluble. However, in the form of a latex dispersion, the material appreciated for its excellent chemical, thermal and electrochemical stability can be applied to an aqueous environment.

The goal of the thesis is to gain a fundamental understanding of the effects of using aqueous PVDF latex binders for the production of lithium ion batteries. 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 identification and controlling of the interactions of water and binder with the various electrode components. Further tasks are the characterization of the binder 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 Arkema, a French global chemistry company among worldwide leader for high-performance materials, including for batteries, giving you good insights into the industrial aspects of electrode production too.

Personal qualification

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

Organizational unit

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

Starting date

as soon as possible

Contract duration

 3 years

Application up to


Contact person in line-management

For further information, please contact Dr. Werner Bauer, phone 0721 608-22990 or email


Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 37-2020 .
Personnel Support is provided by 

Ms Hammer
phone: +40 721 608-25002,

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

We prefer to balance the number of employees (f/m/d). Therefore we kindly ask female applicants to apply for this job.
Recognized severely disabled persons will be preferred if they are equally qualified.