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Title: Failure propagation in multi-cell lithium ion batteries

Traditionally, safety and impact of failure concerns of lithium ion batteries have dealt with the field failure of single cells. However, large and complex battery systems require the consideration of how a single cell failure will impact the system as a whole. Initial failure that leads to the thermal runaway of other cells within the system creates a much more serious condition than the failure of a single cell. This work examines the behavior of small modules of cylindrical and stacked pouch cells after thermal runaway is induced in a single cell through nail penetration trigger [1] within the module. Cylindrical cells are observed to be less prone to propagate, if failure propagates at all, owing to the limited contact between neighboring cells. However, the electrical connectivity is found to be impactful as the 10S1P cylindrical cell module did not show failure propagation through the module, while the 1S10P module had an energetic thermal runaway consuming the module minutes after the initiation failure trigger. Modules built using pouch cells conversely showed the impact of strong heat transfer between cells. In this case, a large surface area of the cells was in direct contact with its neighbors, allowing failure to propagatemore » through the entire battery within 60-80 seconds for all configurations (parallel or series) tested. This work demonstrates the increased severity possible when a point failure impacts the surrounding battery system.« less
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  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7753; PII: S0378775314016905
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Power Sources
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 283; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7753
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Vehicle Technologies Office (EE-3V)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1432131