More Power, Fewer Explosions: Thermal Engineering for Safe Lithium Ion Batteries

Interdisciplinary Areas: Micro-, Nano-, and Quantum Engineering, Power, Energy, and the Environment

Project Description

Lithium-ion batteries provide high energy and power densities. However, high discharge/charge rate, operation under extreme ambient temperatures, and the form factor of large capacity batteries yield from excessive heat generation with few pathways for effective heat removal. This increases the internal temperature and can often lead to thermal runaway (i.e., fires and explosions). Eliminating this threat requires a deeper understanding of the electrochemical heat generation and the prevalent anisotropic thermal transport within the battery that leads to accumulation of heat within the core. Numerous approaches are under development that can distribute the heat generated in the high capacity Li metal and [1] Li-S battery [2] systems to avoid detrimental lithium dendrite formation. Past work on ex situ thermal property characterization [3,4] begins to inform our understanding of battery performance. But accurate non-destructive characterization of thermal conductivity and internal temperatures will enable a better understanding of transport as well as aid numerical electrochemical-thermal modeling, which will improve thermal management strategies. This project will consider testing thermal conductivity and internal temperatures in operando to engineer safe, reliable, high performance batteries. 

Start Date

Fall 2019

Postdoc Qualifications

Experience with thermal metrology, electrochemistry, and/or lithium-ion batteries. 


Prof. Amy Marconnet,, Mechanical Engineering,

Prof. Vilas Pol,, Chemical Engineering, 


1. P. J. Kim, K. Kim, V. G. Pol, Uniform Metal-Ion Flux through Interface-modified Membrane for Highly Stable Metal Batteries, Electrochimica Acta, 2018, 283, 517-527.

2. P. J. Kim, K. Kim, V. G. Pol, “Towards highly stable lithium sulfur batteries: Surface functionalization of carbon nanotube scaffold”, Carbon, 2018, 131, 175-183 
3. A. Gaitonde, A. Nimmagadda, A.M. Marconnet, “Measurement of Interfacial Thermal Conductance in Lithium Ion Batteries”, Journal of Power Sources, 2018, 343 431-436.
4. A. Gaitonde, A. Nimmagadda, A.M. Marconnet, "Experimental Characterization of Thermal Conductance across the Separator-Shell Interface in Dry Cylindrical Lithium Ion Batteries", ITHERM 2017, Orlando, FL.