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Sandia National Laboratories Creates Drop Tower for Impact Testing on Batteries

On 13 August, Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, presented a new indoor tower that allows to drop 200 pounds or more on battery cells. This way Sandia Labs’ researchers will test the cells beyond their limits and learn more about how batteries respond to stress.

The drop tower looms inside a hangar-type building that easily can be vented and cleared if there’s smoke from a battery fire. Researchers control the tower remotely and watch the action on monitors inside a trailer parked about 30 yards away.

So far, the team has tested single-cell lithium-ion batteries and a 12-pack of such batteries taped together. While, the tests have not produced the sparks and heat that would occur in a slower-moving hydraulic crush test, they have collected useful data.

“The constant push for more storage and power drives the need for tests such as those offered by the new drop tower”, said Sandia mechanical engineer June Stanley. “As far as we know nobody in the U.S. has done any drop tests for impact testing like this,” Stanley said. The data collected will aid industry in developing safer, more reliable batteries with more efficient performance. It will also help in responding to emergencies, such as electric-vehicle crashes, she explained.

Source: Sandia National Laboratories |      

Image: Sandia National Laboratories engineers June Stanley and Chris Grosso; Source: Sandia National Laboratories, Photograph by Randy Montoya

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