Intertek, a leading provider of quality and safety solutions for a number of industries worldwide as well as a long-term partner for research, development and testing for component manufacturers and the automotive industry, has constructed an on-site e-mobility test laboratory in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, Germany. As of now, the laboratory also offers abuse tests and lifetime tests for batteries and battery packs for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Batteries and battery packs could be cycled with a power up to 320 kW. The electrical parameters of the battery can vary between 0-1000 VDC and 0-1200 A.
Abuse can be interpreted as misuse or abnormal use. Abuse tests of vehicle batteries and battery packs allow the targeted and controlled regulation of known or suspected abnormal operating conditions or misuse. The test portfolio includes the simulation of critical conditions in transport and shipping, assembly/installation, maintenance works and in the operation of the vehicle. In the tests, the battery experts run the test samples to their absolute specification limits. The energy stores are mostly destroyed after the test runs. These special stress tests simulate the effects of maximum mechanical, chemical and thermal forces as well as further environmental forces (e.g. height simulation). The knowledge gained leads to constructive changes which should significantly reduce the risks to people, the environment and material, during transport and use of the batteries.
The following, among others, are included in the demanding abuse tests by Intertek:
Overcharge: This test seeks to simulate the overcharging of a battery with charging equipment or charging a battery with defective charging equipment.
Short Circuit: What happens if a short circuit takes place between both poles, or conducting material or a conducting tool falls onto the battery? The trigger for the laboratory short circuit is a switch which is designed for short circuit currents of at least 4,500 Amps.
Penetration Test: This test regulates the consequences of a foreign body penetrating the cells. In doing so the battery shall be fully penetrated with a needle.
Crush Test: Intertek regulates the mechanical crushing of batteries which can occur inter alia during transport or accidents.
Impact Test: Here, the experts simulate targeted risk situations which are encountered by the cells, for example, during the packaging of the battery or during transport.
Further Tests: The modern test equipment also allows for battery testing according to various customer-specific requirements.
The heart of the abuse laboratory in Kaufbeuren, which covers more than 150 m², is a special bunker with 27 m³ chamber volumes and a special, chemical-resistant floor pan. Since all the tests mentioned can result in the test samples catching fire or bursting, Intertek test engineers conduct the tests from a control room which is fully isolated from the test bunker. During testing, they are supported by a digital thermal test sample monitor. If a battery does burst, equalisation valves as well as combustible gas removal and cleaning is automatically activated. All of this allows battery stress tests to be simulated without risk to people and the environment.
IDTechEx has published 19 in-depth reports on the EV industry offering ten year forecasts, analysis, company profiles and case studies for vehicles land, water and air and their key components. See www.IDTechEx.com/research for more information.