Following earlier work of Huggins and Nix [Ionics6, 57 (2000)], several recent theoretical studies have used the shrinking core model to predict intraparticle Li concentration profiles and associated stress fields. A goal of such efforts is to understand and predict particle fracture, which is sometimes observed in degraded electrodes. In this paper we present experimental data on LiCoO2 and graphite active particles, consistent with previously published data, showing the presence of numerous internal pores or cracks in both positive and negative active electrode particles. New calculations presented here show that the presence of free surfaces, from even small internal cracks or pores, both quantitatively and qualitatively alters the internal stress distributions such that particles are prone to internal cracking rather than to the surface cracking that had been predicted previously. Thus, the fracture strength of particles depends largely on the internal microstructure of particles, about which little is known, rather than on the intrinsic mechanical properties of the particle materials. The validity of the shrinking core model for explaining either stress maps or transport is questioned for particles with internal structure, which includes most, if not all, secondary electrode particles.