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A cell is the smallest, packaged form a battery can take. Lithium-ion battery cells come in four formats: cylindrical, prismatic, pouch, and coin cells. The former three are used in products while a coin cell is typically only used for research purposes. Testing battery cells is an important step in optimizing battery design and components before incorporating cells into larger modules and battery packs.  

Battery scientists need to determine cells’ efficiency as well as degradation during cycling. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) can be used to investigate battery cell materials’ decomposition and vaporization as well as the thermal stability under diverse conditions. Isothermal Microcalorimetry (IMC) analyzes battery whole cells and provides data to support lifetime predictions, cell performance rankings, and heat management evaluation. 

Instrument & Test Parameters

Isothermal Microcalorimetry (IMC)

Cell performance ranking

Lifetime prediction

Heat management

Phase change and first cycle reactions

Application Example

In Operando Calorimetric Testing of Battery Whole Cells

The electrochemical processes that take place in batteries, whether under load or charging conditions give rise to heat exchange with the surroundings. The work performed as charged species flow internally in a cell gives rise to heat generation as well as the redox processes at the anode and cathode and various parasitic side reactions that are responsible for limiting the service life of a battery. Isothermal Microcalorimetry (IMC) is a non-specific and non-destructive technique for measuring the smallest reactions in a material during a physicochemical process. This is done by measuring the heat flow from the sample at a constant temperature. In battery research, isothermal calorimetry of li-ion battery cells covers three main areas of interest:

  • The first is the thermal output of a cell from the point of view of heat management.
  • The second is the understanding of structural evolutions in active materials as evidenced by entropy changes.
  • The third is the isolation of heat from parasitic reaction to rank the performance of cells. Evaluations of pouch, coin, pacemaker, cell phone, and cylindrical batteries can be conducted under passive storage conditions or in tandem with a battery cycler.