Student: Loraine Torres-Castro
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Major: Physical Chemistry
Degree Level: Ph.D.
Internship Site: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Mentor: Amri HernÌÁndez-Pellerano
Abstract: Lithium-ion batteries are among the most energetic rechargeable batteries available, making them very popular for various applications. A lithium-ion rechargeable battery provides high energy density, requiring less weight and smaller size compared to other rechargeable systems. The battery manufacturer ABSL selected the Sony Lithium 18650 HC cell in the late 1990s to make its space-qualified cells. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has flown ABSL batteries built from Sony 18650 HC cells on ST-5, SDO and LRO missions. Recently, Sony made modifications to these cells due to failures in terrestrial applications. The addition of a mandrel tube is supposed to “improve the vent path within cell to the safety vent” (Troutman, Joe, 2011) without causing any changes in the performance of the cell and the built-in safety features. The aim of my project was to establish the baseline characterization of the life-test batteries, which the contractors at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane, Indiana, will use to compare later performance tests of the Sony 18650 HC and Sony 18650 HC mandrel cells. The study consisted in the creation of a test plan that allows researchers to know the capacity of the battery and its behavior in different environments. The test plan was conducted in the Battery Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The project exposed me to Integration and Testing (I&T) in a Class 10,000 clean room, visits to contractors and vendors (SAFT, ABSL), and the opportunity to travel to the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane, Indiana. (This project was co-authored by Loraine Torres-Castro, Leonine S. Lee, Thomas Y. Yi and Ram S. Katiyar).
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