Sidewall Breach During Lithium-Ion Battery Thermal Runaway Triggered by Cell-to-Cell Propagation Visualized Using High-Speed X-Ray Imaging

Matilda Fransson, Ludovic Broche, Mark Buckwell, Jonas Pfaff, Hamish Reid, Charlie Kirchner-Burles, Martin Pham, Stefan Moser, Alexander Rack, Siegfried Nau, Sebastian Schopferer, Donal Finegan, Paul Shearing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations

Abstract

With the rapid deployment of Li-ion batteries (LiBs) in a range of applications, it is crucial to ensure their safe operation. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the rapid thermal runaway failure that LiBs can undergo if improperly operated or subjected to abuse scenarios so that hazardous events can be avoided or mitigated. Sidewall breaches or ruptures of LiBs during thermal runaway are considered the most hazardous failure scenario, resulting in hot abrasive flare from the casing of the cell that can impinge on neighbouring cells and lead to the propagation of thermal runaway throughout a battery pack. Yet, the process leading up to the sidewall breach is not well understood due to the extreme difficulty in visualizing such a failure in commercially relevant cells. With the application of a newly developed chamber for remote-controlled abuse testing of batteries coupled with simultaneous X-ray imaging, we demonstrate here for the first time an in-situ visualization of a sidewall breach. By further applying spatiotemporal mapping techniques, the internal thermal runaway events leading up to the sidewall breach can be analyzed in detail. Subsequently, the speed of the electrode layer delamination could be calculated to a speed of 0.6 m/s. These new insights bring more clarity regarding this phenomenon, that in turn can help battery designers improve battery safety.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number108088
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Energy Storage
Volume71
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-87065

Keywords

  • Battery safety
  • Failure testing
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Sidewall breach
  • Synchrotron
  • Thermal runaway
  • X-ray imaging

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