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Radiography and CT assuring safe life cycles of Lithium-Ion batteries

li ion batteries

Li-Ion batteries are among the most powerful energy storage devices commonly used in portable electronic devices, stationary power sources and electric vehicles. Manufacturers and suppliers are working hard to increase load capacity, extend lifecycles, and comply with all quality assurance and safety standards.

Waygate Technologies broad portfolio of premium radiography systems supports not only R&D as well as the post-mortem analysis of defective Li-Ion batteries to analyze the means of failure, but also fast CT inspection providing safe and secure production control with a reliable inspection of all vital parts.

CT Inspection of Li-Ion batteries

Quality and Safety

 

The introduction of lithium-ion batteries marks the trend reversal of mobile, always available energy in a large, immediately accessible scale. With the raising demand in the field of automotive, electronics and even aircraft technology the requirements to meet safety regulations have increasingly become strict.

The compliance with quality and safety standards is crucial as an internal failure of the batteries will lead to the release of an extensive amount of energy within a short time - threatening the human and environmental factors.

When carrying out the industrial routines of non-destructive testing (NDT), valuable insights into the complex interior structure are gained for the benefit of failure prevention and engineering optimization as well as achieving faster and more secure production processes.

Touchpoint radiography and 3D computed tomography

Non-destructive glances in the internal structure of batteries and their components can be demonstrated by means of 3D X-ray computed tomography, minimizing not only the failurcauses triggered through manufacturing errors but also due to electrical, mechanical and thermal abuse as well as failure causes due to degradation.

The results of such measurements provide the basis for a targeted improvement of materials and processes in the field of electrode and cell production and are also part of the development of new test methods for the battery industry.

With three different X-ray tubes like offered with the phoenix v|tome|x m and c CT systems, the internal structure of batteries and their components can be made visible in an extremely wide range of inspection tasks.

Especially larger cells and entire battery modules can be examined with high energy mini-focus tube up to an energy level of 450kV.  Small details can be detected with a micro-focus tube with up to 300 kV voltage, and with a detail recognition up to 1 micron. For premium detailed insights in single cells, a nanofocus tube, tiny details up to 0.5 microns inside the cell can be made three-dimensional visible.

Lithium-ion batteries challenges

Processing imperfections
→ Knowledge regarding quality-relevant characteristics on Li-Ion batteries and development of applied QS methods by measurement of overhangs, foreign material inclusions, missing material etc.

Battery performance 
→ Correlation between material, microstructure and cell design to performance of Li-Ion batteries

Failure Analysis    
→ Visualsiation interpretation of post-mortem inspection of failed battery cells or modules

Design types and applications

Cylindrical Cells:
→ Power tools
→ Consumer products
→ Automotive    

Pouch Cells (Coffeebag Cells):
→ Mobile phones
→ Laptops
→ Digital cameras
→ Consumer products
→ Automotive (BEVs, PHEVs)
→ Battery-based Energy Storage System (BESS)

Prismatic Cells:
→ Automotive (BEVs, PHEVs)
→ Battery-based Energy Storage System (BESS) 

Possibilities and challenges for μCT as analysis tool for Li-Ion batteries

Level: battery module
→ Analysis of correct assembly and manfucturing of modules consisting of several cells. Evalutation of contacting and postioning of subcomponents. (challenge: large sample geometries and competent thickness require high X-ray energies, balancing of penetration power and resolution)

Level: single cell
→ Manufacturing & geometric imperfections
→ “Macroscopic” manufacturing effects in respect to reliability, lifetime
→ Reverse Engineering of structural and functional parts of cells to understand impact of manufacturing process and improve lifetime, safety and challenges are: complex material mix, fine-structured parts

Level: micro structure
→ Visualization and quantification of cathode / anode (e.g. porosity homogeneity)
→ “Microscopic” production effects
→ Qualitative and quantitative characterization of raw powder (e.g. agglomeration, foreign particles, grain size distribution)

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