A quick and cost-effective evaluation/screening technique for new battery chemistries was developed that integrates the individual advanced cell component in a full-cell format to identify the critical issues, such as cell component interaction and compatibility before proceeding to commercial production. To make the assessment more practical, a unique way of introducing limited electrolyte was developed. This technique enabled fast and low-cost screening to address any potential issues.

In the process of the new battery chemistry development, the advanced individual cell component (such as anode, cathode, electrolyte) was developed independently, and was tested separately in a “half-cell” format with excess (“the other”) electrode and excess electrolyte (flooded) conditions, which are far away from the practical actual cell build conditions.

In an effort to understand the interaction and compatibility of the individual cell component, a full-cell laboratory evaluation/screening tool was developed to integrate all the individual cell components in a full-cell format. To make the assessment more practical, a limited electrolyte is introduced into the cell.

The full-cell technical fabrication includes two steps: (1) control the anode and cathode in a certain ratio in the capacity, and (2) control the quantity of electrolyte needed. The appropriate anode/cathode ratio can be determined by the loading level. The quantity of electrolyte can be determined by the porosity and thickness of the anode and cathode, as well as the porosity and thickness of the separator. The quantity of the electrolyte was introduced between the interface of the anode and cathode to avoid the electrolyte adhering to the wall of the electrode bag.

The novel feature of the technique is to use full-cell configuration with a limited electrolyte in the cell to reflect the practical actual cell build conditions. It enabled cost- and schedule-effective evaluation to identify potential issues before proceeding to actual cell build.

This work was done by James J. Wu of Glenn Research Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18999-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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