Understanding the Root Causes of Battery Failure

Posted by Vidyu Challa on Feb 21, 2017 9:35:00 AM

battery-failure.jpgThe race to improve the performance and reliability of batteries is on, from electric vehicles to advances in wearables and mobile devices. In the pursuit of performance and the desire to outpace competitors, manufacturers may be tempted to overlook potential shortfalls. Most notably, Samsung made news when the company halted production of its Galaxy Note 7 and eventually scrapped the entire product after devices caught fire.

“The root cause of the battery failure came down to a combination of bad design and manufacturing defects,” said Vidyu Challa, DfR Solutions’ Technical Director. “Battery performance is very closely tied to the manufacturing process and how stringent the quality controls are. There are simply no shortcuts.”

"Batteries with latent defects can pass quality checks when fresh. However, aging/cycling exacerbates these defects and precipitates failures. Tight tolerances and process controls are essential throughout the manufacturing process. Contamination, physical damage to electrodes, and burrs on the foils/electrodes are dangerous for lithium-ion batteries because they can penetrate the separator and create internal short circuits in the cell. There are no safety protection methods which can prevent or control internal shorts other than great control of the manufactoring process."

Intercalation materials undergo volume changes during discharge and charge, whereas passive components – conductive aids, electrolyte, separator – remain unchanged. Ultimately, cells will exhibit a permanent volume increase, and device design must take this into account.

Battery Technology Expertise

Dr. Vidyu Challa spent the past five years in the battery industry as part of a team working on biocompatible flexible batteries and developing custom battery solutions for IoT and smart medical devices. She is an expert on new battery technologies and how to address reliability improvement early within the design process.

Learn more about Dr. Challa and request her services here, or watch our latest recorded webinar on battery reliability titled, Battery Management Systems and Their Role in Safety and Reliability by Chris Ewert, a BMS designer and co-founder of Ewert Energy Systems. Just click below!

Battery Management Systems and Their Role in Safety and Reliability Webinar

Topics: Battery Reliability

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