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PhD in fundamental science for current density measurement of lithium-ion battery


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  Dr Anup Barai  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Project Overview

This fully funded PhD studentship represents a unique opportunity to undertake current density measurement and modelling research in close partnership with Paragraf Ltd (https://www.paragraf.com/). The successful candidate will be embedded within a multidisciplinary academic team, working in close partnership with the industrial sponsor. The student will have access to the unique experimental facilities contained within the WMG Energy Innovation Centre to advance their research.

The research will address the fundamental knowledge required for the current density measurement of lithium-ion battery.

Typical electric vehicle battery packs are made up of a large number of lithium-ion cells. There is an inconsistency in cell manufacturing which manifests itself as a cell-to-cell variation in a lithium-ion battery system (LBS). In addition, this inconsistency in cell manufacturing is also apparent within a cell itself. The inconsistency in active material manifests itself as an uneven current distribution within the cell, leading to uneven heat generation in a cell. The resultant temperature gradient in operation leads to reduced performance, the requirement for a complex thermal management system, and causes uneven ageing across the cell surface which progressively increases with lifetime. This issue culminates in an over-engineered LBS. It is therefore imperative that a means of determining the current distribution within the cell is found; a fast and reliable non-destructive technique currently does not exist.

This project will explore the fundamental science to develop a novel non-destructive current density measurement system based on Hall-Effect sensors. The industrial sponsor already developed a high precision hall effect sensor, which will be available for this project. This will in turn allow better optimisation of battery performance for real-world applications. The following research priority areas will be closely aligned with this research, and will deliver impact to:

Ø More consistent production process of LBS: the proposed technique will allow cells to be graded in seconds, in an industrial environment; offering lower cell-to-cell variation.

Ø Better understanding of battery degradation: the proposed technique will allow non-destructive electrochemical characterisation across cell surface with high spatial resolution.

Ø Longer life of LBS: By enabling a novel dataset, closely related to the short and long-term performance of the LBS, this research will extend LBS life and reduce the warranty cost.

By exploring fundamental science, linking with engineering and industrial manufacturing, this project will extend the existing UK national capability in lithium-ion battery research and high value, sustainable manufacturing.

This ideal candidate will have a strong academic background in a combination of the following areas: experimental design, data processing, mathematical modelling, electrical or electrochemical engineering. An underpinning interest in battery and sustainable mobility will be an advantage.

This PhD is available for UK/EU applicants only. If you wish to discuss the opportunity further, please email Professor James Marco () or Dr. Anup Barai ().

Essential and desirable criteria

Prospective candidates are expected to have a minimum 2.1 undergraduate (BEng, MEng, BSc, MSci) and/or postgraduate masters’ qualification (MSc) with 65% or above.

Experimental design, data processing, mathematical modelling, electrical or electrochemical engineering. An underpinning interest in battery and sustainable mobility will be an advantage.

Funding Notes

Standard Research Council Maintenance Award is available for 3.5 years: £15,285
Funding is available to eligible Home fee status and UK domicile EU students.
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