Williams Turns to Academics in Battery Life Breakthrough

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) has turned to academia to try to analyze the reasons behind automotive battery failure that threatens the life-span of BEVs.

It has teamed up with the Imperial College London to work on a project to bridge the gap between thermofluid science and battery electrochemistry. The project hopes to develop a first-of-a-kind multiphase multiphysics model of battery failure via thermal runaway (a self-sustaining cascade of exothermic reactions that produce large volumes of gas).

The model will consider gas dynamics and its interactions with electrochemical and thermal behaviours, with the goal of advancing the understanding of initiation and propagation of the thermal runaway processes and accelerate the design of countermeasures. The work that the university’s electrochemical science and engineering research group could deliver cost-effective electrification solutions to benefit both WAE and its global client base.

Applying the multiphase multiphysics modelling toolsets should enable the design of safer battery packs with fewer iterations and physical tests; saving time, costs and materials. As part of this program, WAE will provide thermal runaway/propagation test data which has been developed as a result of numerous research and development programs while the battery team will provide technical knowledge and industrial experience on battery safety designs helping steer the project to success.

Rob Millar, head of electrification at WAE, said: “We are confident that the proposed study will bring tangible economic and environmental benefits and look forward to building on our long term partnership with the team at Imperial College London.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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