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Improving lithium-ion cells by replacing polyethylene terephthalate jellyroll tape



Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) tape is widely used by well-known lithium-ion battery manufacturers to prevent electrode stacks from unwinding during assembly. PET tape is selected since it has suitable mechanical and electrical properties, but its chemical stability has been largely overlooked. In the absence of effective electrolyte additives, PET can depolymerize into its monomer dimethyl terephthalate, which is an unwanted redox shuttle that induces substantial self-discharge in a lithium-ion cell. This study presents a chemical screening experiment to probe the PET decomposition mechanism involving in situ generated methanol and lithium methoxide from dimethyl carbonate, one of the most common electrolyte solvents in lithium-ion cells. By screening other polymers, it is found that polypropylene and polyimide (Kapton) are stable in the electrolyte. Finally, it is demonstrated that reversible self-discharge of LiFePO4–graphite cells can be virtually eliminated by replacing PET jellyroll tape with chemically stable polypropylene tape.

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Fig. 1: The widespread use of PET tape by original equipment manufacturers.
Fig. 2: The location of PET in a lithium-ion pouch cell.
Fig. 3: Demonstration of PET tape degradation in lithium-ion cells regardless of cell chemistry, electrolyte or test conditions.
Fig. 4: PET tape degradation in a chemical screening experiment, when DMC, MeOH and LiOMe are used.
Fig. 5: Chemical screening of Kapton, PP and PET tapes, demonstrating the chemical stability of Kapton and PP tapes.
Fig. 6: Demonstration of improvements in self-discharge and cycling performance when PP tape is used instead of PET tape.

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Data availability

The datasets generated and analysed in the course of this study are included in the Supplementary Information. Source data are provided with this paper.


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This work was funded under the auspices of the NSERC/Tesla Canada Alliance Grant programme. A.A., K.T., M.D.L.G. and S.A. thank the Tamkivi Natural Sciences Foundation, the European Regional Development Fund via the Dora Plus scholarship programme, project no. TK141 (grant no. 2014-2020.4.01.15-0011), and the Estonian Research Council (grant no. PRG676), Killam Foundation, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship programme and the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship programme for scholarship support. We acknowledge J. Dahn for obtaining the 402035-sized pouch cells with PP tape.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.A. designed and carried out experiments, analysed the data, conceived the PET depolymerization mechanism in cells and wrote the paper. K.T. assisted with all UHPC and storage measurements and data analysis. T.B. codesigned and carried out the pouch bag experiments. S.A. performed long cycling on cells with PET tape and developed the method for electrolyte extraction used in the study. M.D.L.G. performed long cycling on cells with PET tape. M.M. provided supervision and guidance and edited the paper.

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Correspondence to Michael Metzger.

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Supplementary Figs. 1 and 2 and Schemes 1–5.

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Adamson, A., Tuul, K., Bötticher, T. et al. Improving lithium-ion cells by replacing polyethylene terephthalate jellyroll tape. Nat. Mater. 22, 1380–1386 (2023).

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