Battery Test Lab — Battery Destructive Testing

Project Features: Battery Test Cell, Battery Destructive Testing Lab, Battery Test Safety System, Safety PLC, Battery Cell and Module Testing, Thermal Runaway Safety System, Battery Abuse Test


The Challenge

For battery cells to operate safely and securely, they require a narrow temperature range. If the internal temperature becomes too high or low, thermal runaway can occur. Thermal runaway is a chain reaction that is accelerated by increased temperature, in turn releasing energy that further raises the temperature, destroying the battery, damaging equipment, or even starting a fire.

In this project, ACS worked with a global battery materials and packaging manufacturer to expand battery testing capabilities for destructive testing of various materials used in battery cells and modules. The company sought to enable new product development to grow its market share in the battery materials and packaging market sectors. Intentional destructive tests must happen safely with the capability to stop the test prior to thermal runaway. They also sought a method for safely containing the battery cell after the completion of a test. The new battery abuse cell required custom integration within an existing facility, with new and existing testing equipment including battery cyclers, an external environmental chamber, data acquisition system—all incorporated with a comprehensive safety control and monitoring system design based on process hazard analysis (PHA).

The Solution

ACS was part of the test facility design team during the conceptual and design phases of the new battery abuse test cell. ACS’s overall responsibility included test requirement definition and integration with new and existing equipment, which included a SIL-rated safety PLC with gas-detection and thermal runaway sensing inputs. The team outfitted the battery abuse test cell with a unique, remote-operated battery cell “dunk tank” system to safely quench lithium-ion battery cells during the process of intentionally destroying them. The dunk tank can be used to stop a test in progress by preventing a thermal runaway, or once finished with a test, the battery cell can be submerged to make it inert, thus mitigating any risk of thermal runaway while unattended. As part of the design team, ACS leveraged engineering and integration expertise to develop the electrical test and facility infrastructure hinging on safety monitoring and control interfaces for gas and fire detection, ventilation, exhaust, and equipment interlocks.

Outcome

The renovation to the manufacturer’s battery abuse test cell provided this client with a distinctive competitive edge that will drive new client relationships and enhance the company’s reputation as an industry leader. The solutions implemented boosted capabilities for testing components of bigger battery cells and modules, up to 15 kW-hr, consistently, safely, and repeatedly. The test cell upgrades serve as the foundation for the ongoing expansion of battery testing volume and capabilities for the company. With this renovation, this global manufacturer has welcomed increased market share in growing market segments including the e-mobility sector.

Key Features

  • Renovation of the manufacturer’s battery abuse test cell
  • Increased capabilities for testing components of bigger battery modules consistently, safely, and repeatedly
  • Design and integration of safety PLC, gas-detection, and thermal runaway safety system
  • Integration of new and existing testing equipment including battery cyclers, an external environmental chamber, data acquisition system

ACS Services

  • Member of engineering and design team for battery cell upgrade
  • Engineering and design of battery cell destructive test safety system
  • Equipment concept definition and integration
  • PLC – safety, gas detection
  • FAT (Factory Acceptance Testing) and SAT (Site Acceptance Testing)

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