A German research institute active in metrology has developed a modular, scalable system for calorimetric measurements for batteries. Battery cells must be tested for performance and operational reliability from development to production. Calorimetric data indicate defects at an early stage and can thus help to predict a "thermal runaway" in later operation. For this purpose, the German research institute uses a modular system of almost identical assemblies which allows the calorimetric measurement of different battery cell sizes. The calorimetric testing of battery cells is based on measuring systems which are designed for the specific battery cell. For the required calorimetric, metrological accuracy and for damage limitation in case of cell failure, a full encapsulation was often chosen. These special, battery specific designs are quite expensive, so that a loss due to "thermal runaway" is even more serious. The new design now allows high-precision calorimetric measurements in a simple modular construction and is particularly suitable for prismatic or pouch cells. With a low-cost design, there is little financial loss if a "thermal runaway" occurs on a defective battery cell. In addition, the surface size of the usual battery cells is variable: the modules allow for easy scaling of the surface area with almost identical design. Different design sizes are covered without the need to purchase a new device.
Calorimetric measurements are essential in the development phase of new module designs as well as of new battery materials in order to detect weaknesses in the design. At the same time, they are suitable for quality assurance of random samples from ongoing production. The modules allow an easy handling of this measurement technique.
Even the loss due to "thermal runaway" can be compensated by quickly reassembling a module set.
The modules are actually in use at the research institute. A German utility model protection is effective. The research institute is searching for partners for the joint further development in research cooperation agreements or for partners interested in a direct license.