WUSTL engineers provide free code to help build better batteries

Jan 10, 2014 by Beth Miller
WUSTL engineers provide free code to help build better batteries

(Phys.org) —Lithium-ion batteries, such as those used in electric vehicles, are in high demand, with a global market value expected to reach $33.1 billion in 2019. But their high price and short life need to be addressed before they can be used in more consumer, energy and medical products.

Venkat Subramanian, PhD, associate professor of , environmental & chemical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, and his team have developed a way for lithium-ion battery developers to determine in early stages whether a new material for the batteries will work. The team developed a freely available code that battery developers can use as a model to determine the optimal profile needed to charge a lithium-ion battery as well as any stresses that might be put on the materials used.
"This is a back of the envelope calculation," says Subramanian, an expert in lithium-ion batteries. "Before you invest millions of dollars to go into manufacturing full-time, you can develop models and codes similar to this and look at this initial data to extrapolate and predict how it will work."

The research was recently published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

In a lithium-ion battery, lithium is stored in metallic form inside particles, Subramanian says. The metal goes in and out of the particles, creating stress, cracking and potential failure.

"With this model and algorithm, we can use materials that are newly developed and those currently thought of as bad materials because of significant stress generation," Subramanian says. "Combining stress effects with optimization algorithms can help derive smart charging profiles that take advantage of stress dynamics in such a way that it ensures faster charging of a battery."

The code, designed for a Windows platform, is available for free download at www.maple.eece.wustl.edu/Contr… ressinmaterials.html.

Subramanian says software development such as this code is an important part of developing new .

"When newer materials and systems are being developed for batteries, for solar and for storage, simultaneous development of software, algorithms and hardware are going to be important," Subramanian says. "We're not going to wait 10 years and find the best material and the best , and then start developing the software. You want to be able to start the software development as we develop the new model and algorithms and then adapt it to newer things as they come along."

Explore further: Battery development may extend range of electric cars

More information: Suthar B, Ramadesigan V, De S, Braatz R, Subramanian V. "Optimal charging profiles for mechanically constrained lithium-ion batteries." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2014, 16, 277-287.

Related Stories

Battery development may extend range of electric cars

Jan 09, 2014

It's known that electric vehicles could travel longer distances before needing to charge and more renewable energy could be saved for a rainy day if lithium-sulfur batteries can just overcome a few technical ...

Inexpensive material boosts battery capacity

Oct 23, 2013

Battery-powered cars offer many environmental benefits, but a car with a full tank of gasoline can travel further. By improving the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries, a new electrode made from iron ...

Eavesdropping on lithium ions

Jul 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —Lithium ion batteries are at the energetic heart of almost all things tech, from cell phones to tablets to electric vehicles. That's because they are a proven technology, light, long-lasting ...

Recommended for you

Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

Oct 24, 2014

On September 9, 2014, the Japan Times reported an increasing number of suicides coming from the survivors of the March 2011 disaster. In Minami Soma Hospital, which is located 23 km away from the power plant, ...

UK wind power share shows record rise

Oct 24, 2014

The United Kingdom wind power production has been enjoying an upward trajectory, and on Tuesday wind power achieved a significant energy production milestone, reported Brooks Hays for UPI. High winds from Hurricane Gonzalo were the force behind wind turbines outproducing nuclear power ...

Global boom in hydropower expected this decade

Oct 24, 2014

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce ...

User comments : 0