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John O | August 2017

Animated video explains thermal management of lithium-ion batteries


A short, animated film has been produced by the Electrochemical Science and Engineering group at Imperial College of London to help explain, in much more accessible terms, a research paper that was recently published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

 

 

The animated video explains the difference between surface cooled and tab cooled
rigs on batteries. (Imperial College London/YouTube)

 

The video explains the difference between surface cooling and tab cooling in lithium-ion cells and what makes the thermal management of batteries important.

 

According to the college report, the researchers worked with Crustacean Studio to produce the video.

 

The abstract from the research report stated:

 

“One of the biggest causes of degradation in lithium-ion batteries is elevated temperature. In this study we explored the effects of cell surface cooling and cell tab cooling, reproducing two typical cooling systems that are used in real-world battery packs. For new cells using slow-rate standardized testing, very little difference in capacity was seen.

 

“However, at higher rates, discharging the cell in just 10 minutes, surface cooling led to a loss of useable capacity of 9.2% compared to 1.2% for cell tab cooling. After cycling the cells for 1,000 times, surface cooling resulted in a rate of loss of useable capacity under load three times higher than cell tab cooling. We show that this is due to thermal gradients being perpendicular to the layers for surface cooling leading to higher local currents and faster degradation, but in-plane with the layers for tab cooling leading to more homogenous behavior.

 

“Understanding how thermal management systems interact with the operation of batteries is therefore critical in extending their performance. For automotive applications where 80% capacity is considered end-of-life, using tab cooling rather than surface cooling would therefore be equivalent to extending the lifetime of a pack by 3 times, or reducing the lifetime cost by 66%.”

 

Watch the video below to learn more:

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