Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Using neutrons to peer inside a battery designed for hybrid locomotives

Study is a collaboration between General Electric and Technische Universitaet Muenchen

Rechargeable batteries may soon provide greater energy efficiency not only for road traffic, but also for rail transport. Scientists at the research neutron source FRM II of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) are taking a closer look at a high performance rechargeable battery for future hybrid locomotives.

The focus is on a sodium/iron chloride battery manufactured by General Electric (GE). The study reveals the distribution of chemical substances within the battery during various states of charge.

Physicists and chemists at FRM II screened a half-discharged and a fully discharged General Electric battery cell using an instrument known as ANTARES (Advanced Neutron Tomography and Radiography Experimental System). The system uses neutrons to non-destructively peer deep inside objects. The other alternative, cutting open the battery, would have allowed moisture and air to enter, thereby possibly influencing the highly reactive contents. Making use of radiography, the scientists were able to visualize the level of sodium in the unopened battery.

Using a second instrument at TUM's neutron source, the residual stress and texture diffractometer STRESS-SPEC, the scientists analyzed the exact composition of chemical substances within the cell. Each of the various materials in the battery reacts differently to the neutron radiation, thereby emitting unambiguous signals. In this way the scientists were able to determine the precise reactant distribution within the cell. This is important in establishing how the battery can be charged and discharged as often as possible.

The General Electric batteries are designed for energy savings of at least ten percent. Up to 10,000 of these 2.33 Volt batteries will provide hybrid locomotives with 2000 horsepower. Unlike the lead batteries currently used in motor vehicles, sodium/iron chloride batteries provide not only more than twice the power density, they also have very high performance, as required by locomotives. A further advantage of the batteries tested at FRM II: Unlike the lithium required for lithium batteries, sodium is readily available in nature in the form of sodium chloride, plain cooking salt.

Together with the FRM II, GE is planning to use neutrons in a real-time analysis of the charging and discharging cycles of batteries to determine with even greater precision the distribution of sodium and other substances within the batteries.

Andreas Battenberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht 'Super yeast' has the power to improve economics of biofuels
18.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Engineers reveal fabrication process for revolutionary transparent sensors
14.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>