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Further study of the intrinsic safety of internally shorted lithium and lithium-ion cells within methane-air.

Dubaniewicz TH Jr.; DuCarme JP
J Loss Prev Process Ind 2014 Nov; 32:165-173
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 5A. 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.
Equipment-reliability; Equipment-design; Electronic-equipment; Underground-mining; Milling-industry; Safety-equipment; Hazards; Coal-mining; Mining-industry; Exposure-levels; Explosive-hazards; Risk-factors; Fire-hazards; Safety-measures; Safety-equipment; Author Keywords: Batteries; Explosion protection; Fires; Hazardous areas; Intrinsic safety; Lithium-ion; Mining industry; Standardization
Thomas H. Dubaniewicz Jr., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries
Page last reviewed: June 3, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division