EV Li-on Battery Thermal Runaway Testing: ''ARC-type'' BTC
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Runaway Li-ion Battery Explosion During Charging/Discharging

Graph showing Adiabatic Charging & Discharging of 3-cell Li-ion Battery

The rate (current) at which batteries are discharged and the voltage to which they are charged, is limited by many factors including safety. If excessive rates discharging are used, the battery can overheat and potentially lead to a runaway explosion. Charging to too high a voltage can also lead to these problems. A battery connected to a computer controlled cycler was used to investigate charging and discharging rates, with the battery placed in an Adiabatic Battery Testing Calorimeter (BTC). This ensures that any heat produced within the battery can be measured as a temperature rise and hence simulate the worst case scenario of zero heat loss and hence maximum temperature rise.

The results indicate a small temperature drop during charge cycles and a rise during discharge. Overall, the graphs looks very similar to that for slow charging tests except that in this test, at end of each pair of charging/discharging cycles the battery temperature rose significantly and after 5 cycles (around 110 minutes) started to runaway uncontrollably (from a temperature of around 118&degC at the end of the previous discharge step).

Overcharging (too high a voltage) can also be investigated in the same way.

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