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Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Using Ultrasound to Check Battery Health

Innovative technique could be key to reuse

Published: Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 11:59

(ORNL: Oak Ridge, TN) -- Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are using ultrasounds—usually associated with medical imaging—to check the health of an operating battery. The technique uses sensors as small as a thumbnail, which could be attached to a lithium-ion battery inside a car.

Companies can use this technology to immediately learn which batteries are healthy enough to be resold. “We are combining expertise at ORNL’s battery manufacturing facility (BMF) with ultrasound measurement expertise to identify good batteries that can be reused, reducing waste,” says ORNL’s Hongbin Sun.

Researcher Sun Hongbin examines material changes to a battery made in the DOE’s battery manufacturing facility using an ultrasound sensor. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Department of Energy

Ultrasound waves can continuously monitor battery material property and structural changes while the battery charges or discharges. Sun’s team, including BMF staff and experts in ORNL’s Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division, identified the best testing methods to correlate ultrasound results with a battery’s state of charge. “This is key to measuring battery life, performance, and safety,” Sun says.

First published Oct. 3, 2022, on Oak Ridge National Laboratory News.


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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multiprogram science and technology laboratory managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by the University of Tennessee-Battelle LLC. Scientists and engineers at ORNL conduct basic and applied research and development to create scientific knowledge and technological solutions that strengthen the nation's leadership in key areas of science; increase the availability of clean, abundant energy; restore and protect the environment; and contribute to national security.