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Research and publications

Quality and safety assessment of advanced batteries

Student spotlight: Charlie Kirchner-Burles - University of London

Project outline

In recent years numerous high-profile failures of Li-ion batteries have been reported, contributing to wider concerns about the safety of high energy density cells. As such, developing a method to advance the safety of high energy batteries is of great importance.

This PhD project, a collaboration between the National Physical Laboratory and University College London, is adapting a new method for battery failure characterisation using high speed radiography and tomography.

The scientific objectives of the project is to demonstrate high speed X-ray imaging for a range of failure scenarios (mechanical, electrical, thermal abuse). These can be interpreted through complementary modelling, undertaking correlative measurements, such as acoustic and thermal analysis, and extending investigations to next generation cells, including Li-S and Na-ion.

The new method is planned to be further developed to include correlative thermal, calorimetric and acoustic spectroscopy allowing for a better understanding of thermal runaway processes and providing a more robust method for cell qualification. It will support the translation of synchrotron capabilities to the laboratory to enable routine quality control metrology and contributing to new international standards for cell qualification and safety.

What our students say


Investigating techniques that aim to assess the safety of advanced batteries has been an amazing experience.

Charlie Kirchner-Burles - University of London

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