Journal of Power Sources, Vol.378, 759-775, 2018
A novel thermal management system for improving discharge/charge performance of Li-ion battery packs under abuse
Parasitic load, which describes electrical energy consumed by battery thermal management system (TMS), is an important design criterion for battery packs. Passive TMSs using phase change materials (PCMs) are thus generating much interest. However, PCMs suffer from low thermal conductivities. Most current thermal conductivity enhancement techniques involve addition of foreign particles to PCMs. Adding foreign particles increases effective thermal conductivity of PCM-systems but at expense of their latent heat capacity. This paper presents an alternate approach for improving thermal performance of PCM-based TMSs. The introduced technique involves placing battery cells in a vertically inverted position within the battery-pack. It is demonstrated through experiments that inverted cell-layout facilitates build-up of convection current in the pack, which in turn minimises thermal variations within the PCM matrix by enabling PCM mass transfer between the top and the bottom regions of the battery pack. The proposed system is found capable of maintaining tight control over battery cell temperature even during abusive usage, defined as high-rate repetitive cycling with minimal rest periods. In addition, this novel TMS can recover waste heat from PCM-matrix through thermoelectric devices, thereby resulting in a negative parasitic load for TMS.