Batteries provide the “fuel” that drives electric cars – in effect, the vehicles’ lifeblood. If batteries are to have a long service life, overheating must be avoided. A battery’s “comfort zone” lies between 20°C and 35°C. But even a Sunday drive in the midday heat of summer can push a battery’s temperature well beyond that range.
CryoSolplus is a dispersion that can absorb three times as much heat as water, and can prevent batteries from overheating. (© Fraunhofer UMSICHT)
The damage caused can be serious: operating a battery at a temperature of 45°C instead of 35°C halves its service life. And batteries are expensive – a new one can cost as much as half the price of the entire vehicle. That is why it is so important to keep them cool. Thus far, conventional cooling systems have not reached their full potential: either the batteries are not cooled at all – which is the case with ones that are simply exchanged for a fully charged battery at the “service station” – or they are air cooled.
But air can absorb only very little heat and is also a poor conductor of it. What’s more, air cooling requires big spaces between the battery’s cells to allow sufficient fresh air to circulate between them. Water-cooling systems are still in their infancy. Though their thermal capacity exceeds that of air-cooling systems and they are better at conducting away heat, their downside is the limited supply of water in the system compared with the essentially limitless amount of air that can flow through a battery.
This means that the holding tank for the coolant can be much smaller than those of watercooling systems – saving both weight and space under the hood. In addition, CryoSolplus is good at conducting away heat, moving it very quickly from the battery cells into the coolant. With additional costs of just 50 to 100 euros, the new cooling system is only marginally more expensive than water cooling. The coolant was developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen.
As CryoSolplus absorbs heat, the solid paraffin droplets within it melt, storing the heat in the process. When the solution cools, the droplets revert to their solid form. Scientists call such substances phase change materials or PCMs. “The main problem we had to overcome during development was to make the dispersion stable,” explains Dipl.-Ing. Tobias Kappels, a scientist at UMSICHT. The individual solid droplets of paraffin had to be prevented from agglomerating or – as they are lighter than water – collecting on the surface of the dispersion. They need to be evenly distributed throughout the water. Tensides serve to stabilize the dispersion, depositing themselves on the paraffin droplets and forming a type of protective coating.
“To find out which tensides are best suited to this purpose, we examined the dispersion in three different stress situations: How long can it be stored without deteriorating? How well does it withstand mechanical stresses such as being pumped through pipes? And how stable is it when exposed to thermal stresses, for instance when the paraffin particles freeze and then thaw again?” says Kappels. Other properties of the dispersion that the researchers are optimizing include its heat capacity, its ability to transfer heat and its flow capability. The scientists’ next task will be to carry out field tests, trying out the coolant in an experimental vehicle.
Tobias Kappels | Fraunhofer Research News
Team develops fast, cheap method to make supercapacitor electrodes
18.07.2017 | University of Washington
Magic off the cuff
11.07.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
20.07.2017 | Information Technology
20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy