KULR technology, a major player in thermal management from everything from semi conductors to datacentres announced at the Florida International Battery Seminar and Exhibit that it would be commercialising a key tool developed by American state-owned labs for the investigation of lithium battery fires.
The tool, developed by the US National Renewable Engineering Laboratory in Idaho and NASA is an artificial dendritic short circuit lookalike, which can placed anywhere in the so called ‘Jelly Roll’ of a lithium-ion cell.
Essentially a thermal switch placed in the battery, it only activates once a predetermined temperature is achieved. Once the thermal switch is activated, the cathode and anode of the battery would be electrically connected and an internal short results. Battery scientists can then observe the battery failure process at their convenience.
When battery internal shorts occur, they tend to surface without warning and usually after the cell has been in use for several months. While some failures simply result in the cells getting very hot, in extreme cases cells go into thermal runaway, igniting the device in which they are installed. The most publicised failures involved burning laptop batteries and resulted in millions of recalls.
In recent years, lithium-ion battery failures have resulted in major recalls (Sony, 1.8 million batteries in 2006, HP 100,000 batteries in 2017), fatal aircraft downings and repeated dangerous and even fatal consumer incidents.
Unfortunately, previous lithium-ion cell testing methods such as mechanical (crush, nail penetration), thermal (heat to vent, thermal cycling) and electrical (overcharge, off-limits cycling) were all simply “not relevant to the latent-defect-induced field failure”, according to 2015 NASA and NREL presentations. The ISC design received the prestigious R&D100 Award in 2016 and was runner-up NASA invention of the year in 2017 and is now part of NASA’s “Crewed Space Vehicle Battery Safety Requirements”.
KULR will begin shipping the ISC and ISC trigger cells in October 2018.
KULR’s presentation in Florida was made by CEO Michael Mo (email@example.com).