The Large Format Li-Ion Thermal Runaway Calorimeter’s portability contributes to an array of applications. (Image: NASA)

Innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a method to measure the total and fractional heat response of large format Li-ion cells (cells with capacities greater than 100Ah) when driven into thermal runaway conditions. The new hardware can handle up to 40 times the energy yield of a small format iteration. By understanding the thermal runaway behavior of larger Li-ion cells, engineers can gain insight to improve the design of both the cell and battery level. This in turn helps prevent cell-to-cell propagation during a cell explosion, reducing both consequence of failure as well as the likelihood of loss of hardware or mission.

The Large Format Thermal Runaway Calorimeter (L-FTRC) implements a novel basket capture system designed to facilitate the direct capture and temperature measurement of a completely ejected electrode winding a common occurrence in a thermal runaway event for cells of this size. The L-FTRC also makes use of new strain relief techniques for all associated instrumentation, improving measurement reliability. The system provides a gas collection system capable of capturing the expelled gases in a manner that provides the means to analyze the overall volume of expelled gases, as well as flowrate, temperature, and chemical composition.

This design enables a novel overall capability. Large format Li-ion battery manufacturers can now benefit from testing their batteries for aerospace, automotive, military, and other heavy-duty commercial applications using this technology.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at 202-358-7432 to initiate licensing discussions. For more information, visit here .