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Patent Analysis of

Adaptive heat flow calorimeter

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10001417

Application Number

US15/490281

Application Date

18 April 2017

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS REPRESENTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY

Original Assignee (Applicant)

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS REPRESENTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY

International Classification

G01K19/00,G01N25/20,G01K17/00

Cooperative Classification

G01K19/00,G01K17/00,G01N25/20

Inventor

UBELHOR, RYAN,ELLISON, DANIEL,PIERCE, CECILIA

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10001417 Adaptive heat flow calorimeter 1 US10001417 Adaptive heat flow calorimeter 2 US10001417 Adaptive heat flow calorimeter 3
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Abstract

Apparatus and methods are provided for providing flexible and repairable testing capabilities for systems that generate or absorb heat such as energy storage systems. One embodiment can include a temperature bath structure adapted to contain and maintain a fluid bath at a predetermined temperature, an outer containment structure adapted to insert into the temperature bath structure, heat sinks, thermal sensor assemblies, and an internal containment structure where the thermal sensor assemblies and heat sinks removably attach to different sections of the inner containment structure so as to measure heat flow into or out of the inner containment structure's different sections. Embodiments of the invention enable rapid insertion/removal of samples as well as replacement of sections of the system including embodiments or parts of thermal sensor assemblies as well as enabling separate thermal measurements associated with different sections of a sample under test within the inner containment structure.

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Claims

1. A method of using a thermal energy testing system comprising: providing a sample for testing; providing an inner containment structure of a calorimeter comprising a plurality of wall sections including side sections, a selectively removal top section, and a bottom section, wherein said inner containment structure further comprises attaching a plurality of thermal isolation barriers disposed between each of said sections to thermally isolate each section from all adjacent sections as well as additional thermal isolation barriers disposed on outer surfaces of said inner containment structure; inserting a sample into said inner containment structure; removably coupling said top section of said inner containment structure to respective side sections of adjacent walls of said inner containment structure; providing a plurality of thermal sensor assemblies and respectively coupling each of said thermal sensor assemblies to said outer surfaces of said inner containment structure so said sensor assemblies can be removed and replaced, wherein said sensor assemblies are physically separated from adjacent edges of other sensors in proximity to each other so as to prevent thermal energy from transferring between said sensor assemblies by direct physical contact with each other; removably attaching ones of a plurality of heat sink to respective said outer surfaces of said inner containment structure; inserting inner containment structure with said sample into an outer containment structure; coupling said top section of inner containment structure to said outer containment structure; inserting said outer containment structure into a fluid bath; allowing said sample to discharge; and measuring and recording a heat flow data through each side of said inner containment structure independently of other sides of said inner containment structure.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said sample comprises an electrical energy structure that is charged or discharged at a controlled rate or said sample comprises other materials such as propellants or pyrotechnics that decompose upon heating.

3. The method of claim 1 further comprising a heat flow generated by the stimulated charge, stimulated discharge, or self-discharge of said sample applying a charge to said sample to generate a heat flow.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein said sample is charged at a constant charge rate.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein the measuring and recording step further comprises: sending said heat flow data to a data acquisition device; sending said data from said data acquisition device to a processing system; and importing said data to an input output device.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein said data is sent through a plurality of wires wherein said plurality of wires terminates in a common plug.

7. The method of claim 1 further comprising measuring the heat capacity of said sample.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein measuring the heat capacity of said sample further comprises increasing said temperature of said calibration bath; and measuring the amount of energy absorbed into the test chamber to raise said sample to a new temperature that is in equilibrium with said calibration bath.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein said attaching steps associated with said inner containment structure and said thermal sensors are repeated for each said outer surface of said inner containment structure.

10. A method of manufacture comprising: providing an outer containment structure; providing an inner containment structure comprising a plurality of sections comprising side sections, a top section, and a bottom section, said inner containment structure further comprises thermal isolation barriers adapted to thermally isolate each side section from each other; positioning each one of a plurality of thermal sensor assemblies respectively in contact with an outer surface of each of said plurality of inner containment structure so as to separately determine heat measurements with respect to each said sections, wherein said thermal sensors comprise at least one thermopile, wherein each thermal sensor assembly has a separate signal output from all other thermal sensor assemblies; removably attaching each one of a plurality of heat sinks respectively to each one of said plurality of thermal sensor assemblies and each section of said sections by inserting at least one of a plurality of non-heat conducting fasteners through each one of said heat sinks, each one of said plurality of thermal sensor assemblies into separate sections of said inner containment structure, wherein said heat sink is also in contact with said outer containment structure; placing said inner containment structure into said outer containment structure; and coupling each of said signal outputs of said plurality of thermal sensor assemblies' signal outputs with a signal processing system comprising a section operable to receive signals from said separate thermal sensor assemblies and determine said heat measurements.

11. The method of claim 10 further comprising inserting a sample having materials which generate or consume heat in said inner containment structure.

12. The method of claim 11 further comprising attaching a plurality of cables through an aperture in said inner containment structure from said sample to a charging system.

13. The method of claim 10 further comprising placing said outer containment structure in a calibration bath structure with a thermal conductive fluid inside said calibration bath structure.

14. The method of claim 10 where said attaching step further comprises using a non-heat conductive bolt to attach said thermal sensor assemblies respectively to said inner containment structure sections.

15. The method of claim 10 where the attachment steps are repeated for each said outer surface of said inner containment structure.

16. The method of claim 10 wherein said thermal sensor assembly comprises: a first heat sink wall section; a plurality of thermopiles coupled to said first heat sink wall section; and a second heat sink wall section coupled to said plurality of thermopiles wherein said first heat sink wall section and said second heat wall section have said plurality of thermopiles disposed there between.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein each wall, top, and bottom of said inner containment structure comprises a separate said thermal sensor assembly.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein said thermal sensor assembly further comprises a first heat sink wall section and second heat sink wall section disposed on opposing sides of said thermal sensor assembly, wherein said method further comprises providing a non-thermally conductive fastener to couple said first heat sink wall section and said second heat sink wall section with said thermal sensor assembly a respective inner containment structure section.

19. The method of claim 16 further comprising: attaching a plurality of wires to said plurality of thermopiles; connecting said plurality of wires to a data acquisition system; connecting said data acquisition system to a processing system; and connecting said processing system to an input output device.

20. A method of repairing a thermal testing system comprising: providing a calorimetric measuring unit; providing an inner containment structure comprising a plurality of sections comprising side sections, a top section, and a bottom section, said inner containment structure further comprises thermal isolation barriers adapted to thermally isolate each side section from each other; removing said inner containment structure, which further comprises a plurality of thermal sensors and a plurality of heat sinks respectively each disposed on an opposing side of said thermal sensor so as to dispose one of said thermal sensors between each one of said heat sinks and a wall section of said inner containment structure, from an outer containment structure; detaching at least one said heat sink attached to said thermal sensor assembly and said inner containment structure; detaching said thermal sensor assembly comprising a first and second heat sink wall section with a thermal sensor disposed there between; extracting a damaged thermopile from said thermal sensor assembly; inserting a functioning thermopile into said thermal sensor assembly; reattaching said thermal sensor assembly to said first heat sink in proximity and thermal contact with said first heat sink wall section; reattaching said heat sink wall section and said thermal sensor assembly to said inner containment structure so as said second heat sink wall section is in thermal contact with said inner containment structure; reinserting said inner containment structure into said outer containment structure; reinserting said outer containment structure into said fluid bath; and resuming operation of said calorimetric measuring unit.

21. The method of claim 20 where said reattaching steps relative to said inner containment structure, said thermal sensor assembly, and said heat sink further comprise using a non-heat conductive fastener to couple said inner containment structure, said thermal sensor assembly and said inner containment structure together.

22. The method of claim 20 where said detaching steps further comprise removing a non-heat conductive fastener to decouple said heat sink, said thermal sensor assembly, and said inner containment structure from each other.

23. The method of claim 20 wherein said sensor assembly comprises: a first and second heat sink wall section and a plurality of thermopiles; wherein said first heat sink wall section and said second heat sink wall section are thermally separated by said thermopiles to form a thermally conductive path from said first and second heat sink wall sections through each said thermopiles.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A method of using a thermal energy testing system comprising:
    • providing a sample for testing
    • providing an inner containment structure of a calorimeter comprising a plurality of wall sections including side sections, a selectively removal top section, and a bottom section, wherein said inner containment structure further comprises attaching a plurality of thermal isolation barriers disposed between each of said sections to thermally isolate each section from all adjacent sections as well as additional thermal isolation barriers disposed on outer surfaces of said inner containment structure
    • inserting a sample into said inner containment structure
    • removably coupling said top section of said inner containment structure to respective side sections of adjacent walls of said inner containment structure
    • providing a plurality of thermal sensor assemblies and respectively coupling each of said thermal sensor assemblies to said outer surfaces of said inner containment structure so said sensor assemblies can be removed and replaced, wherein said sensor assemblies are physically separated from adjacent edges of other sensors in proximity to each other so as to prevent thermal energy from transferring between said sensor assemblies by direct physical contact with each other
    • removably attaching ones of a plurality of heat sink to respective said outer surfaces of said inner containment structure
    • inserting inner containment structure with said sample into an outer containment structure
    • coupling said top section of inner containment structure to said outer containment structure
    • inserting said outer containment structure into a fluid bath
    • allowing said sample to discharge
    • and measuring and recording a heat flow data through each side of said inner containment structure independently of other sides of said inner containment structure.
    • 2. The method of claim 1 wherein
      • said sample comprises
    • 3. The method of claim 1 further comprising
      • a heat flow generated by the stimulated charge, stimulated discharge, or self-discharge of said sample applying a charge to said sample to generate a heat flow.
    • 4. The method of claim 1 wherein
      • said sample is charged at a constant charge rate.
    • 5. The method of claim 1 wherein
      • the measuring and recording step further comprises:
    • 7. The method of claim 1 further comprising
      • measuring the heat capacity of said sample.
    • 9. The method of claim 1 wherein
      • said attaching steps associated with said inner containment structure and said thermal sensors are repeated for each said outer surface of said inner containment structure.
  • 10
    10. A method of manufacture comprising:
    • providing an outer containment structure
    • providing an inner containment structure comprising a plurality of sections comprising side sections, a top section, and a bottom section, said inner containment structure further comprises thermal isolation barriers adapted to thermally isolate each side section from each other
    • positioning each one of a plurality of thermal sensor assemblies respectively in contact with an outer surface of each of said plurality of inner containment structure so as to separately determine heat measurements with respect to each said sections, wherein said thermal sensors comprise at least one thermopile, wherein each thermal sensor assembly has a separate signal output from all other thermal sensor assemblies
    • removably attaching each one of a plurality of heat sinks respectively to each one of said plurality of thermal sensor assemblies and each section of said sections by inserting at least one of a plurality of non-heat conducting fasteners through each one of said heat sinks, each one of said plurality of thermal sensor assemblies into separate sections of said inner containment structure, wherein said heat sink is also in contact with said outer containment structure
    • placing said inner containment structure into said outer containment structure
    • and coupling each of said signal outputs of said plurality of thermal sensor assemblies' signal outputs with a signal processing system comprising a section operable to receive signals from said separate thermal sensor assemblies and determine said heat measurements.
    • 11. The method of claim 10 further comprising
      • inserting a sample having materials which generate or consume heat in said inner containment structure.
    • 13. The method of claim 10 further comprising
      • placing said outer containment structure in a calibration bath structure with a thermal conductive fluid inside said calibration bath structure.
    • 14. The method of claim 10 where said attaching step further comprises
      • using a non-heat conductive bolt to attach said thermal sensor assemblies respectively to said inner containment structure sections.
    • 15. The method of claim 10 where the attachment steps are repeated for each said outer surface of said inner containment structure.
    • 16. The method of claim 10 wherein
      • said thermal sensor assembly comprises:
  • 20
    20. A method of repairing a thermal testing system comprising:
    • providing a calorimetric measuring unit
    • providing an inner containment structure comprising a plurality of sections comprising side sections, a top section, and a bottom section, said inner containment structure further comprises thermal isolation barriers adapted to thermally isolate each side section from each other
    • removing said inner containment structure, which further comprises a plurality of thermal sensors and a plurality of heat sinks respectively each disposed on an opposing side of said thermal sensor so as to dispose one of said thermal sensors between each one of said heat sinks and a wall section of said inner containment structure, from an outer containment structure
    • detaching at least one said heat sink attached to said thermal sensor assembly and said inner containment structure
    • detaching said thermal sensor assembly comprising a first and second heat sink wall section with a thermal sensor disposed there between
    • extracting a damaged thermopile from said thermal sensor assembly
    • inserting a functioning thermopile into said thermal sensor assembly
    • reattaching said thermal sensor assembly to said first heat sink in proximity and thermal contact with said first heat sink wall section
    • reattaching said heat sink wall section and said thermal sensor assembly to said inner containment structure so as said second heat sink wall section is in thermal contact with said inner containment structure
    • reinserting said inner containment structure into said outer containment structure
    • reinserting said outer containment structure into said fluid bath
    • and resuming operation of said calorimetric measuring unit.
    • 21. The method of claim 20 where said reattaching steps relative to said inner containment structure, said thermal sensor assembly, and said heat sink further comprise
      • using a non-heat conductive fastener to couple said inner containment structure, said thermal sensor assembly and said inner containment structure together.
    • 22. The method of claim 20 where said detaching steps further comprise
      • removing a non-heat conductive fastener to decouple said heat sink, said thermal sensor assembly, and said inner containment structure from each other.
    • 23. The method of claim 20 wherein
      • said sensor assembly comprises:
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Description

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Efforts to obtain increased energy density of battery cells highlight a need for electrochemical techniques as well as additional characterization methods for these cells in order to meet user needs and safety requirements. In particular, a continuing need has called forth inventive efforts for developing novel calorimeters to satisfy various requirements for requiring activities including high energy density systems such as chemical energy storage systems, propellant, explosive, and pyrotechnic devices. To support optimization of electro chemical energy storage systems in particular it is necessary to understand their thermal characteristics at rest and under prescribed charge and discharge cycles. In one example, a need existed to develop a calorimeter system able to accommodate multiple battery cell configurations and provide empirical system data for use in modeling and simulation. Heat capacity, and thermal efficiency for each battery cell were determined, as well as the actual heat load from each surface of the cell. The heat flow from each of six surfaces of the cell and overall thermal efficiency were obtained with the cell at rest and under a variety of prescribed charge and discharge cycles representative of typical usage of these cells. Testing was completed isothermally at 25° C. to capture the requirements necessary to remove the entire generated thermal load from the battery cell. Moreover, these needs also included a requirement to create testing systems which are capable of larger testing capabilities that necessarily includes a need to use larger systems, create more testing options with respect to samples under test, and create an ability to more cost effectively repair or replace costly components in such test systems which existing systems do not accommodate in a cost or time effective manner. As systems are scaled up in size, there is a higher level of failures in system components which require new designs to accommodate repairs or maintenance rather than throwing out large sub-assemblies. Also, there is a need to be able to swap out components for greater customized design or configurability of testing systems with respect to desired testing processes or data collection.

As an example of one embodiment, an improved measuring cell for a temperature bath was designed and constructed to measure the heat flow of larger cells (e.g., 18×8×16 cm). Heat flows from 0.01 to 7.00 Watts were measured with an average signal noise less than 1 mW. In one example, heat capacities of samples were also determined with experimental deviation of less than 2%.

Embodiments of the invention can include apparatus and methods for providing flexible and repairable testing capabilities for systems that generate or absorb heat such as energy storage systems. One embodiment can include a temperature bath structure adapted to contain and maintain a fluid bath at a predetermined temperature, an outer containment structure adapted to insert into the temperature bath structure, heat sinks, thermal sensor assemblies, an internal containment structure, and thermal barriers between different elements of the invention to isolate different sections from each other. An embodiment of the invention can include a system where the thermal sensor assemblies and heat sinks removably attach to different sections of the inner containment structure so as to measure heat flow into or out of the inner containment structure's different sections without being altered by direct thermal contact with other inner containment sections. Embodiments of the invention permits rapid insertion/removal of samples as well as replacement of sections of an exemplary system including embodiments or parts of the thermal sensor assemblies as well as providing an ability to obtain separate thermal measurements associated with different sections of a sample under test within the inner containment structure. Other aspects of the invention include a capability to insert or substitute existing components such as containment structure elements, thermal sensors etc. with different sized elements or structures to accommodate different types of samples or differently sized samples under test. Embodiments can include electrical bus or wiring structures such as separate wiring sections and quick disconnects that also permit rapid repairs or alteration of configurations of various aspects of embodiments of the invention.

Additional features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of the illustrative embodiment exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the invention as presently perceived.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The detailed description of the drawings particularly refers to the accompanying figures in which:

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary calorimetric system being removed from a precision temperature bath in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a simplified perspective view of a battery cell under test inside an exemplary calorimetric measuring unit installed in a precision temperature bath in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 shows positioning of an exemplary calorimetric measuring unit in an exemplary fluid bath in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 shows a calorimetric measuring unit of an exemplary calorimetric measuring unit with a heat sink removed in relation to an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 shows an exemplary embodiment of an exemplary calorimetric measuring unit of an exemplary calorimetric measuring system with a top heat sink removed in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 shows a top view of a corner of an exemplary inner containment structure of a calorimetric measuring unit in relation to an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 shows an exemplary inner containment structure with thermal isolation barriers in relation to an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 shows a cross sectional diagram with top and bottom units removed in relation to an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 shows an exemplary thermal sensor assembly used in an exemplary calorimetric measurement unit in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 shows an exemplary thermal sensor assembly attached to an inner containment structure of a calorimetric measuring unit in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 11 shows an exemplary orientation of a wiring system for thermopiles with respect to an inner containment structure in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 12 shows exemplary data signal wires from an exemplary thermal sensor assembly terminating in a quick release electrical connector in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 13 shows a flow chart depicting an exemplary simplified method of repair for a calorimetric measuring unit in relation to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 14 shows a flow chart depicting an exemplary method of use for a calorimetric measuring unit in relation to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 15 shows a flow chart depicting an exemplary method of manufacture for a calorimetric measuring unit in relation to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 16 shows a flow chart depicting an exemplary method of manufacture for a sensor assembly in relation to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 17 shows exemplary heat flow curves showing individual signals for each surface of a sample cell from different sensor assemblies as well as the combined heat flow, which is the curve of largest value.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The embodiments of the invention described herein are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to precise forms disclosed. Rather, the embodiments selected for description have been chosen to enable one skilled in the art to practice the invention.

Generally, one exemplary embodiment of an improved calorimeter test system was designed to accept two different sizes of silver zinc based battery cells. The exemplary cells under test provided access to their normal electrical test system through a use of extended charging cables. An exemplary calorimeter test system was designed to approximate operational conditions in which the test cell is operated isothermally at 25° C. Maintaining an isothermal operating environment can be achieved through the use of a precision temperature bath. One exemplary test system can be designed such that each of six surfaces of the test cell (cuboid sample) can be provided a thermal conduction pathway of least resistance that can be isolated from the other five surfaces and channeled through a plurality of thermopiles. In this example, exemplary thermopiles function according to the Seebeck effect and generate a voltage corresponding to a temperature difference on either side of the precision measurement device. A plurality of thermoelectric junctions in each thermopile amplifies this effect and thus lowers a minimum temperature difference required to generate a voltage to nearly isothermal values.

FIG. 1 shows maneuverability of an exemplary embodiment of a calorimetric measuring unit assembly 1. A user simply grasps handle 11 attached to a lid 13 in an outer containment structure 19 and pulls outwardly to extract outer containment structure 19 from fluid bath 9 (not shown in FIG. 1).

FIG. 2 shows a simplified diagram of a tested sample 3 inside an exemplary calorimetric measuring system 1 installed in an exemplary precision temperature measurement bath 9. In one embodiment, a sample 3 can be a battery. Exemplary sensor assembly 5 can be seen between an exemplary inner containment structure 15 which includes inner containment structure sections, e.g., section 14″″″ (e.g. a top side) (see FIGS. 2 and 3 for more exemplary details), holding the sample 3 and heat sink 7′. In one embodiment a thermal isolation barrier 17 (shown in, e.g., FIGS. 5 and 6) can be located between edges of inner containment structure 15 and edges of each sensor assembly 5. Thermal isolation barriers 17 span a portion along edge sections of inner containment structure 15 and are provided to thermally isolate each wall of inner containment structure 15 from other adjacent walls to avoid unmeasured thermal contributions to each sensor assembly 5 thermally coupled to its respective wall of the inner containment structure 15 (e.g., thermal cross talk or undesired thermal energy migration between walls or segments associated with different thermocouples or thermopiles). Exemplary aspects of an embodiment of the invention as described herein allows for calorimetric measuring system 1 to measure heat flow from each side of sample 3 independent of other sides.

In one embodiment, side, top, and bottom assemblies inside of outer containment structure 19 can include thermal isolation barriers sections 17, sensor assembly 5, and heat sink 7′ where each applicable assembly is respectively coupled to each side, top, and bottom of the inner containment structure 15. Heat sinks 7, 7′, etc. can be large enough with a high enough heat capacity such that thermal energy released through any sample's face is absorbed into heat sinks 7, 7′, etc. However, thermal energy released from sample 3 and through elements of calorimetric measuring unit 16 is not enough to change the temperature of the heat sinks. Thermal energy absorbed by heat sinks 7, 7′, etc. then dissipates through outer containment structure 19 and into a thermally stable fluid bath 9. Exemplary aspects of this invention as described herein also allows for calorimetric measuring unit 1 to have an increased capacity for samples that are larger and have higher heat load capacities. A high capacity of heat sink 7 also helps to maintain an isothermal operating environment.

In one exemplary embodiment, each of heat sinks 7, 7′, 7″, etc. are connected with respective surfaces of inner containment structure 15 with thermally non-conductive bolts (not shown) similar to the one 33 shown in FIG. 5 on the top heat sink. An embodiment can also include a lifting eye bolt 35 which aids in positioning the inner containment structure 15 inside the outer containment structure 19 for operation.

Referring back to FIG. 2, an embodiment can include cables (not shown) that connect to sample 3 which permit operation of a sample e.g., battery which permit calorimetric testing of a sample under operational test or use configurations. These cables can carry charge from a charging system (not shown) to sample 3 when testing and generating data for sample 3 in the calorimetric measuring unit 16. The exemplary measuring system 1 can also have a handle 11 for removal of outer containment structure 19, and lid 13 enclosing outer containment structure 19. The lid 13 can be removably attached to the outer containment structure to permit the lid to be opened and closed after removal or insertion into the calorimetric measuring unit 1.

An example of positioning of an exemplary calorimetric measuring cell in the fluid bath can be seen more clearly in FIG. 3. FIG. 3 shows a perspective cut-away view of the exemplary assembly shown in FIG. 2 but it also shows a stirrer 37 operable to mix the fluid bath in a predetermined manner to further control a temperature of fluid bath 9.

In one exemplary embodiment of calorimetric measuring system 1, a temperature control mechanism in fluid bath 9 can be provided. Exemplary temperature control mechanism can comprise an integrated heater (not shown) in a bottom plate of the fluid bath 9 and a cooling element (not shown) inserted into fluid bath 9 adapted to serve as an adjustable heat exchanger for fluid bath 9 located at a top portion of fluid bath 9. Heating or cooling elements can also be placed onto different locations of said fluid bath.

Referring to FIG. 4, each exemplary heat sink 7, 7′, etc., can be respectively thermally coupled to a different respective surface or section of inner containment structure 15 by non-heat conductive bolts (not shown) that insert into recessed apertures 36 of the heat sinks in one embodiment. FIG. 4 also shows an outer thermally conductive surface 21A′ of thermal sensor assembly 5 which is positioned to thermally couple with adjacent structures (e.g., inner containment structure 15 or heat sinks, e.g., 7), as well as wires 31 attached to thermal sensors in thermal sensor assembly 5. In this example, wires 31 carry electrical signals corresponding to measurement values from thermopiles for each side (23A, 23B, etc.) of the inner containment structure 15 to a data acquisition device 25 (not show in FIG. 4 but, e.g., shown in FIGS. 8 and 11).

FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 show thermal isolation barriers 17 used in relation to embodiments of the invention. Thermal isolation barriers are used in some embodiments to isolate thermal sensor assemblies from edge sections of adjacent sides of the inner containment structure 15. As shown in FIG. 6, a thermal isolation barrier 17 is disposed between one sensor assembly 5 and an adjacent inner containment structure section 14″ (e.g., a side) that is parallel and adjacent to an inner containment structure section 14′ that is parallel and in contact with the body of thermal sensor assembly 5. A different thermal isolation barrier 18 is disposed between inner containment structure section 14′ and adjacent inner containment structure 14′ that is, in this embodiment, an end side of the inner containment structure 15 forming two sides of the inner containment structure 15. Thermal isolation barriers, e.g., 17, inserted between edges of adjacent sections such as inner containment structure sections and thermal isolation barriers serves to ensure that heat data for each side of sample 3 can be measured independently from the other sides to avoid unmeasured thermal contributions to any thermal sensor assembly that are not oriented towards a face of inner containment structure 15. For example, when sample 3 is charged, heat data can be generated for each side of sample 3 facing a thermally isolated section or side of the inner containment structure independent of the other section or sides. If no thermal isolation barriers, e.g., 17, are used, then calorimetric measuring unit 1 would generate only one measurement for the total heat flow generated by sample 3. Embodiments can also include non-thermally conductive contact between outer surface (e.g., 21) of each sensor assembly, e.g., 5, and thermal isolation barriers, e.g., 17; such contact would not allow for individualized and independent heat data measurements for each thermally isolated section of inner containment structure 15.

In one exemplary embodiment, one or more thermal isolation barriers, e.g., 17, can comprise a gasket made of a small silicone sheet that is located between sensor assembly 5 and inner containment structure 15. In another exemplary embodiment, one or more thermal isolation barriers, e.g., 17, can comprise a thermal isolation strip made of clear polycarbonate located between sides of inner containment structure 15.

FIGS. 6 and 7 shows another type of thermal isolation barrier 18 positioned with respect to different components as the previously discussed thermal isolation barriers, e.g., 17. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, thermal isolation barriers 18, 18′ can be positioned between inner containment structure sections 14, 14′ (e.g., sides). Likewise, additional thermal isolation barriers can be inserted between each inner containment structure section and each adjacent inner containment structure section to thermally isolate each inner containment structure section (e.g., side walls as well as floors and top section) from each other section. Thermal isolation barriers 18, 18′, etc. operate in conjunction with thermal isolation barrier 17, 17′, etc. to create an isothermal environment and to ensure that the heat data for each side of sample 3 can be measured independently from the other sections (e.g., sides) of the inner containment structure 15.

FIG. 8 shows a partial cross-sectional top view of exemplary calorimetric measuring unit 1 excluding top and bottom portions (each having thermal sensor assemblies and heat sinks along with thermal isolation barriers isolating them from side sections of the inner containment structure 15) as well as two of four side thermal sensor assemblies 5′, 5″ and heat sinks 7′, 7″. Exemplary inner containment structure 15 is shown with a sample 3 inside it. Thermal isolation barriers 17, 17′, 17″, and 17′″ are disposed adjacent to outer edges of inner containment structure 15 sides. Another set of thermal isolation barriers 18, 18′, 18″, 18′″ are disposed between sides of inner containment structure 14, 14′, 14″, 14′″. Edge sections of thermal sensor assemblies e.g., 5, 5′″, are disposed adjacent to thermal isolation barriers 17, 17′ and 17″, 17′″ respectively. Heat sinks 7 and 7′″ are adjacent to sensor assemblies 5, 5′″ respectively and outer containment structure 19 (not shown).

FIGS. 8 and 9 show components of sensor assembly 5. Assembly 5 comprises of two thermally conductive surfaces 21A and 21A′ and a plurality of thermopiles 23A, 23A′, etc. between them which conduct heat between the two surfaces 21A, 21A′. Thermopiles 23A, 23A′ measure the heat flow as it passes through them and sends that measurement value to a data acquisition system 25 (shown in FIG. 8). A thermal sensor assembly, e.g., 5, is provided for each side, top, and bottom of the inner containment structure 15. This allows for individualized, independent measurements for each side of sample 3 facing a thermally isolated measuring section of the inner containment structure 15.

Referring back to FIG. 8, when sample 3 inside the inner containment structure 15, generates heat, such as a during a charge cycle. The heat flow moves from sample 3 to the adjacent sensor assembly 5. Within sensor assembly 5, heat flows through thermally conductive surface 21, thermopiles 23A, 23A′, etc., and a second thermally conductive surface 21A′. As heat moves from thermopiles 23A, 23A′, etc. to a second thermally conductive surface 21, a measurement value is sent from thermopiles 23 to a connected data acquisition system 25. Data acquisition system 24 is connected to the plurality of thermopiles 23A, 23A′, etc. through a set of separate wires 31 for each sensory assembly 5 as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 which in turn is connected to a processing system 27 and an output system 29. In one embodiment, the thermopiles are arranged as such to be thermally in parallel but electrically in series. Such a mechanism for heat flow is present for each side inner containment structure 15 as heat would flow through the side's thermopiles generating a measurement value for data acquisition system 24. When sample 3 consumes thermal energy for a process the heat flow reverses direction in such that heat from the bath flows back through the system and into the system resulting in an opposing measurement.

From data acquisition system 24, a measurement value then is sent to a connected processing system 27. In an exemplary embodiment, processing system 27 contains a GPIB/Ethernet input/output section and has a processor and a storage medium box within the overall processing system box. From there, the measurement value is sent to an output device 29 which displays or outputs the information. In another exemplary embodiment, the output device can be a printer or a display. Measurements for each sensory assembly 5 can be done separately for each inner containment structure 15 facing different sides of sample 3.

In an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 9, sensor assembly 5 has two thermally conductive surfaces 21A, 21A′ that are held together by a non-heat conductive bolt 33.

FIG. 10 shows an exemplary thermal sensor assembly 5 attached to an inner containment structure 15. Sensor assembly 5 has thermally conductive surfaces 21A, 21A′ that are held together by a non-heat conductive bolt 33. Spacer 24 is made from a non-conductive material and operates, in this embodiment, to prevent the thermopiles in thermal sensor assembly 5 from becoming damaged by a force applied to either of the thermally conductive surfaces 21A, 21A′.

As shown in FIG. 11, a non-heat conductive bolt(s) (not shown) goes through the thermally conductive surfaces at recessed feature 36 in heat sinks (e.g., 7, 7′, etc.) and attaches to inner containment structure 15 through thermal sensor assembly 5. There is also spacer 24 in another exemplary embodiment. Spacer 24 is made from a non-conductive material and operates to prevent the thermopiles from becoming damaged by a force applied to either of the thermally conductive surfaces 21A, 21A′.

In an exemplary embodiment, the wires 31 terminate in common plugs 32 as shown in FIG. 12. Plugs 32 allow for greater ease of use with the data acquisition system 25 as the user can quickly disconnect the system by pulling plugs at the calorimetric measuring unit rather than splicing wires as in prior systems.

Referring to FIG. 13, a method of repair of a system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention is shown that can include providing an assembly comprising a calorimetric measuring system 1, e.g. FIGS. 2 and 3, such as described herein at step 101. At step 102, when it is determined by the user that thermopiles 23 need to be replaced, remove outer cover from outer containment 19. At step 107 remove inner containment structure 15 from outer containment structure 19. For example, step 107 can be accomplished by a use of lifting eye bolt 35 (e.g., shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 4). Next, according to step 109, heat sink 7′ is detached from inner containment structure 15 and sensor assembly 5 by the removal of non-heat conductive bolt(s) at recessed areas 36. Replace thermal sensor assembly 5 with a spare assembly as in step 111. Next, process continues by sending a faulty unit, e.g., thermal sensor assembly 5, back to the repair facility for step 113 and proceeding to step 117 for in field repairs. At step 113, outer heat sink wall section 21A′ is detached from the sensor assembly 5 with the removal of at least one non-heat conductive bolt 33. At step 113 a damaged thermopile(s) 23a can be extracted from inner heat sink wall section 21 and new functional thermopile 23b inserted into sensor assembly 5. At step 117, heat sink 7 is reattached to sensor assembly 5 and inner containment structure 15 and by the reinsertion of non-heat conductive bolts at recessed areas 36. At step 119, inner containment structure 15 is reinserted into outer containment structure 19. Proceeding to step 120, replace the outer cover over the outer containment 19. Operation of calorimetric measuring system 1 can resume at step 23.

Referring to FIG. 14, a method of use of a system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention can include providing a sample 3 for testing at step 201. Sample 3 is then inserted within inner containment structure 15 at step 203. Then, at step 205, a top section of inner containment structure 15 is coupled to the walls of inner containment structure 15. At step 206, providing and coupling thermal isolation barriers 17, 17′, etc.; sensor assemblies 5, 5′, etc.; and heat sink 7, 7′, etc. for each respective side, top and bottom of inner containment structure 15 is accomplished (see, e.g. FIGS. 4, 5, and 8). Note that step 206 in this embodiment is performed prior to sample insertion; if no maintenance is required, this step does not need to be modified for each sample. Inner containment structure 15 is placed inside outer containment structure 19 according to step 207. Note with respect to step 207, in this embodiment structure 15 with heat sinks generally stays inside structure 19 during changing of samples but are removable if necessary for a sample to be removed or inserted but such removal not required. At step 209, a top section of inner containment structure 15 is coupled to outer containment structure 19. At step 213, sample 3 is allowed to charge or discharge. At step 215, a charge is applied to sample 3, and at step 217, heat flow from sample 3 through each side of inner containment structure 15 is measured and recorded independently of the other sides of inner containment structure 15. Steps 213 to 215 can be omitted if sample 3 does not require a charge, such as with other sample types besides electrochemical energy storage devices. Charge and discharge profiles are sample dependent. The number of charges and discharges is variable from zero to any number as directed by the sample. The charge and discharge rates can also be variable or constant as required by the sample. Typically a charge and discharge program can be an established protocol that is normally completed without the addition calorimetry, such as lot acceptance testing.

Referring to FIG. 15, a method of manufacture of a system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention is shown that can include providing an outer containment structure 19 such as described herein at step 301. At step 303, an inner containment structure 15 is provided as well. At step 304, thermal isolation barriers 17, 17′, etc. are attached on an outer surface of inner containment structure 15, e.g. FIGS. 5 and 6. At step 305, a sensor assembly 5, 5′, 5″, etc. and a heat sink 7, 7′, etc. is attached to each respective side of inner containment structure 15 with non-heat conductive bolt at recessed areas 36. At step 306, steps 304 and 305 are repeated such that thermal isolation barriers 17′, 17″, etc. and sensor assemblies 5′, 5″ are attached to each respective outer surfaces of inner containment structure 15. At step 307, inner containment structure 15 with thermal isolation barriers 17, 17′, etc.; sensor assemblies 5, 5′, etc.; and heat sinks 7, 7′, etc. is placed inside outer containment structure 19 to form calorimetric measuring unit 1. Finally, at step 309, calorimetric measuring unit 1 is placed inside fluid bath 9. Note that step 309 can be moved to, e.g., initial setup, and thus leave the calorimetric measuring unit 1 inside the fluid bath for test operations and thus skip step 309 at this point of this exemplary process.

Referring to FIG. 16, an exemplary method of manufacture of a sensor assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the invention can include providing a first heat sink wall section 21A at step 305A. At step 305B, a plurality of thermopiles 23A, 23A′, etc. are attached to first heat sink wall section 21A. In one embodiment, thermopiles 23A, 23A′, etc. are adhered to first heat sink wall section 21A with a thermally conductive paste, improving thermal contact and providing a weak adhesive bond. At step 305C, a second heat sink wall section 21A′ adjacent to the thermopiles 23A, 23A′, etc. and first heat sink wall section 21A. At step 305D, second heat sink wall section 21A′ is attached to first heat sink wall section 21A with thermopiles 23A, 23A′, etc. between the two surfaces. The heat sink wall sections 21 are secured to each other using non-heat conducting fasteners 33, such as PEEK bolts. At step 305E, steps 305A-305D are repeated for assembling sensor assemblies 5′, 5″, etc. for each side of inner containment structure 15.

An exemplary calibration of the test system can be achieved through Joule heating. In one example, thermal conduction pathways also contain precision resistors or resistive heaters at fixed locations that are used to calibrate the thermopiles in that pathway by producing a known heat flow as calculated using Ohm's law. To ensure any “leakage” into unintended pathways is accounted for, each conduction pathway can be calibrated individually. Finally, one embodiment can include a point source placed in the approximate center of the test chamber and allowed to radiate thermal energy on to the collection surfaces of all of the pathways at the same time. The sum value is validated based on the calculated value of the point source. One exemplary calorimeter system constant was determined using silicon glass tubes filled with silicon glass beads as a known standard.

In one example, two silver-zinc cells were selected for calorimetry testing. A first can be designated Cell A with a weight of 4.32 kg when filled with electrolyte. A second cell can be designated Cell B with a filled weight of 4.11 kg. Heat capacity value for the exemplary samples was determined by changing the calorimeter bath temperature by 10° C. and then measuring the amount of energy absorbed into the test chamber in order to raise the cell to the new temperature and back into equilibrium with the calorimeter bath. This exemplary process was then repeated by lowering the calorimeter bath temperature to the original 25° C. Raising and lowering of the bath temperature was repeated again to provide a total of four separate heat flows to use in specific heat calculations.

In another example, once a heat capacity of the sample cell was determined, an exemplary cell was connected to the electrical test system and cycled according to the normal test plan for these cells. Both cells can be cycled at constant charge and discharge rates, including 10, 25, and 35 amps, inside the calorimeter. For each cycle, several plots, such as those shown in FIG. 18, can be generated including heat flow vs. time with an overlay of the voltage data, a normalized plot in which heat flow per surface area is compared for each surface of the sample cell (the top surface is inherently skewed low due to the measurement cell design), and heat flow vs. ampere hour plot for the discharge and charge steps.

Exemplary heat flow curves, e.g. FIG. 17, provide the individual signals for each surface of the sample cell as well as the combined heat flow, which is the curve of largest value. The start time for each time plot has been normalized to the start of the discharge step. The electrical cycling program was a discharge, rest, charge, and final rest. However, due to the transfer time required for the heat to move from the sample cell and across the measuring pathway the total thermal transfer time is longer than the time required for the individual electrical charge or discharge.

In an example, an average heat generated is calculated by integrating the area under a heat flow curve and then dividing by the time required for the electrical discharge, and not the longer time of total heat transfer.

In one example, charge or discharge number is the number in the calorimeter. Both sample cells in this example can be previously subject to normal lot acceptance testing prior to testing in the calorimeter. An interesting feature of an exemplary heat flow curve can be shown during a charging step. An endothermic portion can be observed at a start of each charging step.

Calorimetric data obtained during charge and discharge cycles was also used to determine the thermal efficiency of the sample cells. Total electrical energy for each charge or discharge was divided by the sum of the electrical energy and thermal energy.

Although the invention has been described in detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments, variations and modifications exist within the spirit and scope of the invention as described and defined in the following claims.

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19.0/100 Score

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74.38/100 Score

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It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Thermal insulation testing method and apparatus NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION, U.S. GOVERNMENT AS REPRESENTED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF 11 December 2002 30 November 2004
Stable isothermal calorimeter WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORP. 03 August 1989 08 May 1990
Flow-measuring differential calorimeter KEP NUCLEAR,COMMISSARIAT A L'ENERGIE ATOMIQUE ET AUX ENERGIES ALTERNATIVES 14 January 2014 28 January 2016
Apparatus for the calorimetry of chemical processes AMERICAN CYANAMID COMPANY 25 July 1983 09 January 1990
Calorimeters for testing energy storage systems and power electronics methods of making the same and methods of use ALLIANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY, LLC 09 March 2012 02 January 2014
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US10001417 Adaptive heat flow calorimeter 1 US10001417 Adaptive heat flow calorimeter 2 US10001417 Adaptive heat flow calorimeter 3