Mining Publication: Further Study of the Intrinsic Safety of Internally Shorted Lithium and Lithium-ion Cells Within Methane-air
Original creation date: November 2014
Authors: TH Dubaniewicz, JP Ducarme
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers continue to study the potential for lithium and lithium-ion battery thermal runaway from an internal short circuit in equipment for use in underground coal mines. Researchers conducted cell crush tests using a plastic wedge within a 20-L explosion-containment chamber filled with 6.5% CH4-air to simulate the mining hazard. The present work extends earlier findings to include a study of LiFePO4 cells crushed while under charge, prismatic form factor LiCoO2 cells, primary spiral-wound constructed LiMnO2 cells, and crush speed influence on thermal runaway susceptibility. The plastic wedge crush was a more severe test than the flat plate crush with a prismatic format cell. Test results indicate that prismatic Saft MP 174565 LiCoO2 and primary spiral-wound Saft FRIWO M52EX LiMnO2 cells pose a CH4-air ignition hazard from internal short circuit. Under specified test conditions, A123 systems ANR26650M1A LiFePO4 cylindrical cells produced no chamber ignitions while under a charge of up to 5 A. Common spiral-wound cell separators are too thin to meet intrinsic safety standards provisions for distance through solid insulation, suggesting that a hard internal short circuit within these cells should be considered for intrinsic safety evaluation purposes, even as a non-countable fault. Observed flames from a LiMnO2 spiral-wound cell after a chamber ignition within an inert atmosphere indicate a sustained exothermic reaction within the cell. The influence of crush speed on ignitions under specified test conditions was not statistically significant.
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