PI: Sam Park, University of Louisville.

Project Description:

Lithium batteries are expected to play an even more important role for electric/ hybrid vehicles. During over-charging and toward the end of their useful life, the oxidation of cell components leads to “thermal runaway,” which causes fire and explosion. At that point, it is too late to take action for safety. Developing a method for accurately sensing the atmosphere surrounding the battery and also detecting and quantifying the gaseous by-products of battery degradation would greatly enhance both the safe use of batteries and the reliability of battery systems. The main technical objective of this study is to fabricate optimized electrolyte/electrode material sets to detect a range of gases released from deteriorated lithium-ion batteries with high selectivity. Efforts will focus on fabricating chemical sensors using a nanosensor array with composite materials such as ceria-based sensors for CO and hydrocarbons. These sensors will need to have the flexibility to operate over a wide range of conditions and will, therefore, require a range of technologies. Through thermodynamic modeling and experimental design, a detailed model of sensor resistances as a function of gas composition, voltage, temperature, sensor materials (electrode and electrolyte thicknesses and compositions), and time will be constructed for the targeted operating conditions.