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Sensor offers lithium-ion battery failure warning

The bright minds at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have made an important breakthrough that could help warn about impending lithium-ion battery failure. They have developed an inexpensive sensor based on a study between the internal temperature of lithium-ion cells and the electrical parameter of the cell itself. They found that a very small alternating current, when applied at specific frequencies, is modified by the cell in such a way that it is directly related to the temperature of the electrochemical interface between the electrolyte and the electrodes. Now the sensor they have created uses a simple electrical connection at the positive and negative terminals and operates with power from the battery it is monitoring. According to the authors, they have found they can measure the temperature of the protective layers between the electrodes and the electrolyte of the battery during normal operation – and these are the layers where the conditions that lead to cell failure begin. As such, the discovery allows them to detect potentially unsafe thermal conditions and register any change that takes place. Now it is hoped the new sensor can help battery management systems to monitor and manage battery performance, and, vitally, to detect unsafe thermal conditions at critical moments before they occur helping to increase the safety and performance of their products.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green Cars, Electric cars, Lithium-ion batteries

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