Battery Testing Methods and Techniques: Different Industries and Their Approaches
Electric vehicles and consumer electronics are limited by the unsolved problem of predicting the health and remaining useful life of Li-ion batteries. Therefore, a number of testing processes with real-time, non-invasive, and information-rich tests were created for an accurate battery forecasting system. This will not only be a cost-saving option to increase effectiveness but will let us halt the faults before they happen.
Why is Battery Testing Needed?
For electric vehicles, battery testing is especially crucial (EVs). The most important part of a car's powertrain is its batteries, which store and supply energy to the electric motor. As a result, battery testing affects the car's overall performance, acceleration, and range.
It's also essential for the safety of other road users, the driver, and the passengers. Subsequently, the market for electric vehicles is growing to encompass SUVs, trucks, buses, and other vehicles in a variety of climates. When you think about it, an electric vehicle (EV) can travel through the dry heat of a desert, salty coastal air, and freezing cold mountain passes in a single day—all while carrying the weight of passengers and the bumps of uneven roads. In addition to driving on cities or highways, businesses also need to take this into account.
Types of Battery Testing
To keep a close eye on measures like performance, safety, and reliability of batteries different battery testing methods are employed. Let us understand some of them which are most common.
Performance testing helps to ascertain the battery's capacity, efficiency, and overall performance by assessing the battery's electrical performance under various circumstances, including temperature, load, and charge and discharge cycles. Engineers can also find possible problems that might affect the safety and dependability of batteries by using performance testing.
Performance testing can entail the following:
Capacity Testing: By draining the battery to a predetermined point and measuring the amount of energy it produces over a predetermined amount of time, capacity testing evaluates the battery's ability to store and deliver electrical energy (in amperes or watts).
Efficiency Testing: Efficiency testing measures the battery's output voltage and current and computes its efficiency to determine how well the battery transforms stored energy into electrical energy. It functions similarly to a battery health examination overall.
Cycle Testing: By putting the battery through a series of charge and discharge cycles under various circumstances, including load and temperature, cycling testing determines the battery's capacity to charge and discharge repeatedly. This indicates the maximum amount of time a battery can be used.
Temperature Testing: By subjecting the battery to a range of temperatures and monitoring its output voltage and current, temperature testing helps to ascertain how well it performs under various circumstances.
Aging Testing: Through a series of charge and discharge cycles over an extended period of time, aging testing evaluates the battery's performance over time by measuring its capacity and efficiency.
Cell Formation Testing: The process of conditioning new batteries to make sure they function at their peak before being placed into service is known as cell formation testing. Batteries are put through a series of charge and discharge cycles during cell formation testing in order to activate and stabilize the electrodes and electrolytes inside the battery. This allows them to function at their best and consistently for the duration of their lives.
Durability Testing: evaluates a battery's resilience and dependability by subjecting it to challenging circumstances like vibration, shock, and mechanical stress. Through testing, potential weak points or design flaws that could lead to a battery failure or pose a safety risk are found.
Durability testing usually covers the following, whereas performance testing concentrates on the battery's electrical performance under various circumstances:
Mechanical Stress Testing: Mechanical Stress Testing involves applying force to the battery, such as oscillation or tremors, to determine how well it can withstand physical strain and continue to function.
Environmental Testing: Test chambers are used in environmental testing to assess the battery's performance and dependability in a variety of environmental settings, including temperature and humidity. This helps to identify any possible problems that might affect the battery's performance in real-world scenarios.
Through the identification of potential safety hazards and the development of suitable safety measures, abuse testing establishes whether a battery can withstand misuse, such as impacts or punctures.
Battery durability is evaluated throughout its full life cycle, which includes storage, transportation, and charge and discharge cycles, through life cycle testing. It establishes how long the battery can be used and identifies issues that may eventually affect its performance or safety.
How Safety Testing and Durability Testing Are Different
While both safety and durability testing are crucial components of battery evaluation, their goals are different. The main goal of durability testing is to determine how well a battery can endure adverse circumstances and continue to function and be dependable over time.
Contrarily, safety testing focuses on determining possible risks or hazards related to the battery's use as well as assessing the battery's resistance to damage.
Usually, this entails putting the battery through a battery of tests to see how resistant it is to misuse, overcharging, short circuits, and thermal runaway. In order to identify potential risks, safety testing may also involve evaluating the battery's performance in various humidity and temperature ranges.
Battery Testing Equipment
Labs use a number of crucial technologies to ensure battery testing is done safely and effectively. Let's examine each one of them.
Battery Testers measure the voltage, current, and resistance of batteries in various scenarios. They can also compute the battery's performance, charge/discharge cycles, and capacity (general health). Batteries undergo repeated cycles of charging and discharging to evaluate their performance in various scenarios and track changes in cell response over time.
Battery Analyzers: Battery analyzers measure the impedance, ripple current, charge, and temperature of batteries in addition to analyzing their chemical makeup to spot possible problems that might affect how well they function. Battery management systems (BMS) give real-time performance data on batteries and monitor and regulate battery charging and discharging. They'll also notify users of any possible problems.
Data Loggers Data Loggers monitor battery performance over time and spot trends by recording and storing data from battery tests, such as voltage, amperage, current, and temperature.
In order to assess battery performance under various circumstances, environmental chambers are enclosed work areas that mimic various environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity. Typically, this specialty piece of equipment has safety features to prevent damage to the lab and equipment and exact temperature and humidity control. Test chambers are made to adhere to the strict guidelines and specifications set forth by the battery business, including industry-specific testing procedures and safety laws.
Battery Testing Fixtures: Mechanical devices called battery testing fixtures are used to hold batteries in place during testing so that no movement could harm the batteries or lead to inaccurate test results. With less chance of short circuits or other electrical problems, well-designed battery fixtures can also lower the risk of safety hazards like battery explosions or fires.
Industries That Conduct Battery Testing
An extensive range of commercial industries use battery testing. The majority of industries connected to manufacturing carry out battery testing. Universities spend money on battery technology research as well. These are a few well-known uses for battery testing.
Automotive: Since batteries are used to power EVs, automotive battery testing is essential. To reduce some of the so-called "range anxiety" that many customers feel, for example, manufacturers concentrate on increasing the range that electric vehicles (EVs) can travel on a single charge. High-density battery test fixtures and chambers will be used in laboratories to carry out EV battery research and development.
Batteries will continue to be essential to a greener future as society restructures transportation in response to the climate crisis, moving toward more renewable energy.
Aerospace: In order to ensure that batteries can endure the harsh conditions of space and continue to function dependably over extended periods of time, the aerospace industry tests the batteries used in satellites and spacecraft.
In order to prepare them for possible use in the International Space Station (ISS), NASA, for example, tests lithium-ion batteries.
Technology: For businesses that produce electronic devices like tablets, laptops, cellphones, and medical equipment, battery testing is crucial. Thorough testing guarantees that batteries are long-lasting, dependable, and safe before goods reach consumers' hands.
Energy Holding: Within the energy storage sector, battery testing is essential. Energy storage is used by electric vehicles (EVs), but it has many more uses besides transportation.