This invention features the use of redox reagents, dissolved in non-aqueous electrolytes, to provide overcharge protection for cells having lithium metal or lithium-ion negative electrodes (anodes). In particular, the invention features the use of a class of compounds consisting of thianthrene and its derivatives as redox shuttle reagents to provide overcharge protection. Specific examples of this invention are thianthrene and 2,7-diacetyl thianthrene. One example of a rechargeable battery in which 2,7-diacetyl thianthrene is used has carbon negative electrode (anode) and spinet LiMn.sub.2 O.sub.4 positive electrode (cathode).
This invention was made with support from the Department of Energy under Contract DE-FC02-91CE50336 administered by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium. The consortium and the U.S. Government have certain rights in this invention.