July 20, 2016

Purdue lab dissecting lithium-ion batteries to improve safety

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The recent recall of hoverboards because of exploding lithium-ion batteries highlights the danger of overheating batteries. Amy Marconnet, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, can speak about the effects of excessive heating in batteries.

Marconnet (pronounced mar-co-nay) founded the Marconnet Thermal and Energy Conversion Lab, where researchers are dissecting the batteries and testing materials making up electrodes and a critical component called a separator. (A video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCTMA8sxZO0)

Battery failures have been reported in products ranging from commercial airliners and laptops to hoverboards and cellphones. Chemical reactions in the batteries generate heat while discharging and charging. The separator is a layer of material between the positive and negative electrodes. When it fails due to high heat, the battery short-circuits and could explode.

Marconnet and her team use thermal conductivity measurement tools to study the batteries and determine the thermal conductivity of the separator.

“This value is critical for predicting how hot the separator will get and whether it will fail,” she said.  “So new data from our lab will help us predict safety and reliability of batteries used for many purposes.”

She also can discuss:

  • Research to develop new thermal-management technologies for mobile electronics including cell phones to help prevent overheating in the products.
  • Work probing the fundamental physics of heat transport.
  • Research with assistant professor Tahira Reid aimed at learning precisely how much heat to apply while using a flat iron to style hair and how frequently to use heat treatment for a given hair type without destroying it.

Contact: Amy Marconnet, 765-494-5212, marconnet@purdue.edu 

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2015-17 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Office of Strategic Communications

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact News Service at purduenews@purdue.edu.