Research Papers: Techniques and Procedures

Experimental Quantification of Vent Mechanism Flow Parameters in 18650 Format Lithium Ion Batteries

[+] Author and Article Information
Frank Austin Mier

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology,
Socorro, NM 87801
e-mail: frank.mier@student.nmt.edu

Michael J. Hargather

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology,
Socorro, NM 87801
e-mail: michael.hargather@nmt.edu

Summer R. Ferreira

Advanced Power Sources R&D,
Sandia National Laboratories,
Albuquerque, NM 87123

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received August 24, 2018; final manuscript received February 19, 2019; published online April 4, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Arindam Banerjee.

J. Fluids Eng 141(6), 061403 (Apr 04, 2019) (11 pages) Paper No: FE-18-1552; doi: 10.1115/1.4042962 History: Received August 24, 2018; Revised February 19, 2019

Lithium ion batteries have a well-documented tendency to fail energetically under various abuse conditions. These conditions frequently result in decomposition of the electrochemical components within the battery resulting in gas generation and increased internal pressure which can lead to an explosive case rupture. The 18650 format cell incorporates a vent mechanism located within a crimped cap to relieve pressure and mitigate the risk of case rupture. Cell venting, however, introduces additional safety concerns associated with the flow of flammable gases and liquid electrolyte into the environment. Experiments to quantify key parameters are performed to elucidate the external dynamics of battery venting. A first experiment measures the vent burst pressure. Burst vent caps are then tested with a second experimental fixture to measure vent opening area and discharge coefficient during choked-flow venting, which occurs during battery failure. Vent opening area and discharge coefficient are calculated from stagnation temperature, stagnation pressure, and static pressure measurements along with compressible-isentropic flow equations and conservation of mass. Commercially sourced vent caps are used with repeated tests run to quantify repeatability and variability. Validation experiments confirmed accuracy of opening area and discharge coefficient measurement. Further, trials conducted on vent caps from two sources demonstrate the potential for variation between manufacturers.

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Fig. 1

A schematic representation of an 18650 format battery showing safety mechanisms and views of a vent cap with an intact and open burst disk. The bottom-left image shows an LG brand 18650 cell before disassembly. The internal surface of battery vent caps shows perforated plate designs from 18650 format cells made by LG, Panasonic, A123, and MTI. Mock orifice plates made to mimic the maximum possible opening area for measurement validation experiments.

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Fig. 2

The vent cap holding mechanism used for burst pressure tests is shown: (a) as an annotated cutaway schematic of the design and (b) as installed

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Fig. 3

Annotated pressure trace taken from an MTI vent cap test showing the: (a) beginning of pressurization, (b) vent burst, (c) flow momentarily choking, and (d) the ball valve being closed by the operator to stop airflow and finish the experiment

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Fig. 4

Annotated views of the COTA showing the: (a) overall test setup, (b) battery vent cap holder with static pressure transducer and outlet valve, (c) the inlet valve and pressure regulator, and (d) the stagnation property measurement locations on the far end of the accumulator tank from the view in (a). (e) An annotated cutaway model of the vent cap holder compared to a (f) schematic representation of the vent cap holder as a one-dimensional nozzle with varying cross section. Horizontal blue lines show the relative locations of the vent cap and static pressure measurement between the model and schematic.

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Fig. 5

Example dataset from validation testing on the COTA with a mock MTI orifice

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Fig. 6

Comparison between physically measured and calculated opening areas from the COTA validation series. Orifices with circular and more complex geometries can be measured accurately with this experiment and calculation methodology. Experimentally determined opening areas had an uncertainty smaller than the symbol size on the plot.

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Fig. 7

Discharge coefficient versus normalized stagnation pressure for testing with S1 and S2 orifices

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Fig. 8

Histogram of MTI burst pressures from vent caps with attached and detached disks

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Fig. 9

(a)–(e) High-speed images of burst disk opening (highlighted in red) around the disk circumference compared to (f)–(j) similarly sequenced high-speed schlieren images showing initially uneven venting: (a) t = 0 μs, (b) t = 20 μs, (c) t = 40 μs, (d)t = 60 μs, (e) t = 80 μs, (f) t = 0 μs, (g) t = 20.8 μs, (h) t = 41.7 μs, (i) t = 62.5 μs, and (j) t = 83.3 μs

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Fig. 10

(a) Bounded actual and theoretical mass flow rates for MTI Trial 22 showing the valid measurement range and (b) the subsequent discharge coefficient calculation plotted with upper and lower bounds

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Fig. 11

Binned and averaged values for discharge coefficient calculations from all 50 MTI vent cap tests showing the distribution of potential discharge coefficient values within the valid stagnation pressure range

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Fig. 12

Comparing discharge coefficient to: (a) opening area and (b) burst pressure from testing series of 50 MTI vent caps

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Fig. 13

Actual mass flow rate versus opening area for testing series of 50 MTI vent caps

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Fig. 14

Model predictions for pressure and mass flow rate versus time for gas venting from an 18650 cell



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