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14-06-2020 | Issue 6/2020 Open Access

Fire Technology 6/2020

Numerical Study of Self-Heating Ignition of a Box of Lithium-Ion Batteries During Storage

Fire Technology > Issue 6/2020
Zhenwen Hu, Xuanze He, Francesco Restuccia, Guillermo Rein
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Many thermal events have been reported during storage and transport of large numbers of Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), raising industry concerns and research interests in its mechanisms. Apart from electrochemical failure, self-heating ignition, driven by poor heat transfer could also be a possible cause of fire in large-scale ensembles of LIBs. The classical theories and models of self-heating ignition assume a homogeneous lumped system, whereas LIBs storage involves complex geometry and heterogeneous material composition due to the packaging and insulation, which significantly changes the heat transfer within the system. These effects on the self-heating behaviour of LIBs have not been studied yet. In this study, the self-heating ignition behaviour of a box containing 100 LiCoO2 (LCO) type of cylindrical cells with different insulation is numerically modelled using COMSOL Multiphysics with a multi-step reaction scheme. The model predicts that the critical ambient temperature triggering self-ignition of the box is 125°C, which is 30°C lower than that for a single cell, and the time to thermal runaway is predicted to be 15 times longer. The effects of different insulating materials and packing configurations are also analysed. This work provides novel insights into the self-heating of large-scale LIBs.

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