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Infrared Thermal Imaging Used To Study Lithium-Ion Battery Life


Research work recently conducted by several engineering faculty members at Ohio State may one day influence the life of the lithium-ion battery. 

The focus of the research has been to analyze what causes the batteries to fail over time. In a reverse-engineering study of sorts, learning what causes the batteries to die could lead to new methods for extending battery life. Giorgio Rizzoni, the Director for OSU's Center for Automotive Research, and Mechanical Engineering Professor Yann Guezennec, created the experimental facilities and procedures that mimicked the environment in which hybrid and all-electric vehicles, using lithium-ion batteries, operate.

In the midst of all the charging and discharging of batteries, Professor Bharat Bhushan and Assistant Professor Lei Raymond Cao, both of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department, and Associate Professor Suresh Babu, materials science engineering, began to investigate how the aging of the batteries' electrode materials influenced battery life. Using infrared thermal imaging and a number of other methods, it became apparent that the coarsening of nanomaterials on electrodes is likely behind the degradation of lithium-ion batteries.

Greater detail about the research, which was conducted in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards Technology, was recently reported in e! Science News, Science News, and ieee Spectrum.