Advanced Characterisation Tools for Battery Safety Assessment

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Chemical Engineering

Abstract

The safety of lithium batteries is of paramount importance, as demonstrated by a number of high profile failures, which also highlight the opportunity to differentiate cell designs and chemistries based on improved failure mitigation. The existing tranche of failure qualification standards are outmoded, in this project we propose to develop and apply cutting edge imaging and diagnostic tools to examine the safety of JM chemistries and cell designs. This will be achieved using combinations of advanced X-ray and thermal imaging, and calorimetry along with more conventional abuse tests. Leveraging the extensive work at UCL in the development of new metrology tools, and safety protocols for batteries, the proposed PhD project will deliver intellectual challenge and commercial benefit

People

ORCID iD

Drasti Patel (Student)

Publications

10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512400/1 01/10/2017 31/03/2022
1928264 Studentship EP/R512400/1 25/09/2017 24/03/2022 Drasti Patel
 
Description Lithium-ion batteries are becoming increasingly energy and power-dense and the demand for them to operate in newer and more challenging applications is growing in parallel. Demonstrated recently by a number of high profile failures, the safety of lithium-ion batteries alongside performance needs to be improved. Their safety is inextricably linked to their microstructure and mechanical design, therefore studies need to be addressed at the electrode, cell, and module level.

Battery safety cannot be determined or evaluated by one parameter, rather a combination of approaches that complement one another by reducing the probability of the event and lessening the severity of the outcome. s this approach is applied, thermal stability is conceivably the most important of several parameters that determine the safety of lithium-ion batteries. Different battery chemistries have varying failure modes, but several events are common among all types of batteries. The most common response of a cell to abusive conditions is the generation of heat and gas.

The architecture and electrode microstructure of a commercially available lithium-ion battery was successfully compared for both pre and post thermal failure using a combination of X-ray computed tomography and accelerating rate calorimetry. This work contributed to the understanding of battery failure on a multi-length scale from a whole cell, electrode, and materials point of view.
Exploitation Route These results can be used during the material selection and cell design stages of battery manufacturing to make safer lithium-ion batteries. These findings really showcase how X-ray CT on various length scales combined with traditional battery safety tests, such as thermal abuse using calorimetry, can show a more comprehensive and visual image of the ongoings inside a lithium battery as it fails.
Sectors Energy

URL https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1149/1945-7111/ab7fb6
 
Description Green Man Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Activity as part of Ucell. Ucell is an electrochemical outreach group made up of PhD researchers, lecturers and industry partners working on electricity production from hydrogen and energy storage systems. This workshop/demonstration aimed to demonstrate the real potential of alternative energies by providing fuel cell generated electricity to a festival stage (powering the lighting, stage, and sound), along with public engagement and demonstrations to inform and educate about fuel cells and energy technologies in general. The four day event in August of 2018 and 2019 sparked many questions and discussion from the general public. Out of a total of 109 reviewers, 28 % were between the age of 6 - 12, 6 % were between 13 - 18, 17 % between 19 - 30, 32 % between 31 - 50 and 16 % were 51+. Of these, 10 % answered knowing "nothing" about renewable energy before chatting to us and only 0.9 % afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Manchester Science Festival Participation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Demonstration of the real potential of alternative energies by providing fuel cell generated electricity to the Manchester Science Festival along with public engagement and demonstrations to inform and educate visitors about fuel cells and energy technologies (including battery storage) in general.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description School Visit (ELUTEC) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Participation in an open day for the recruitment of students into years 10 and 11 at Elutec. Held a workshop demonstrating fuel cell and battery operated cars to allow prospective students and their parents to explore the opportunities an education in Sciences and Engineering could open up to them in the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Ucell lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact 60 pupils attended for a guest lecture covering UCell activities for the Electrochemical Engineering and Power Systems modules as part of the MEng programme in Chemical Engineering at UCL. Topics covered included Energy consumption and production, Changes to energy systems, Alternative energy production, Energy storage systems, Electric vehicle market (Fuel cell and Electric), Life cycle assessment, Balance of plant, Other considerations. A demonstration of a 3 kW fuel cell stack and Toyota Mirai sparked questions and a discussion afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020