Safety incidents with lithium ion batteries have been the "elephant in the room" for several years now, with high profile incidents in consumer electronics, electric vehicles and stationary installations popping up periodically on the news with often dramatic consequence. All stored energy ultimately carries an inherent hazard. The hazards inherent to lithium ion batteries however are often less well understood than those of more conventional means of energy storage. Sandia National Laboratory's Battery Abuse Testing Laboratory looks to use destructive battery testing to better understand the hazards presented lithium ion batteries. This talk will look at the general consequences of catastrophic battery failure, including heat release, projectiles and fire/flammable components. Various battery chemistries have been observed to have different responses as well. Battery failure calorimetry has been used in the past to quantify this effect, with collected results discussed here. Ultimately, as progressively larger battery systems are explored the system level impact of a single cell battery failure becomes important as well. Sandia has explored techniques for cell to system thermal runaway propagation with examples of this testing shown.
Dr. Joshua Lamb is currently a Principal Member of the Technical Staff with the Advanced Power Sources R&D organization at Sandia National Laboratories. He primarily oversees the Battery Safety and Abuse Testing Laboratory (BATLab) team. The team focuses on the development of inherently safe lithium-ion batteries by understanding the consequences and mechanisms of failure, developing cradle-to-grave battery testing, and developing new materials for use in battery systems. Joshua earned his Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering in 2008 and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2002 from the University of Nevada. Joshua joined SNL in 2011 and has over 8 years of experience in the conduction and development of battery abuse tests, battery safety research and understanding the risks associated with high energy density power sources.