The example of a large-scale cell damage caused by overcharge
The damage was caused by using a high-speed charger (30A) designed for charging 16 cells with a pack of just 15 cells without proper balancing and management. The voltage of some of the cells reached high above the max voltage level. The result was the swelling of the cells and partial damage of the cells.
FAQ: What to do with a swelling cell?
First: Analyze the reason for the swelling. Is the battery used properly? Is the BMS working correctly? Note: Do not use the cell any longer, if the cell has become swollen.
Second: Remove the cell, unscrew the safety valve to allow the internal pressure to be released. (Be careful not to spil the electrolyte from the cell).
Third: Put the cell under the pressure to renew its original shape. You may need to increase the pressure gradually as the cell returns to its correct shape. Please allow for many hours or even days to pass to renew the shape.
Fourth: Charge the battery correctly and check its parameters: What is the voltage? What is the capacity? Perform several cycles to get consistent results and to see if the cell can be used again.
Finally: Avoid the same situation to happen again. Remember there is no way to repair a cell that was damaged by improper use.
The packing and mounting of the LFP cells
In order to prevent the swelling of the prismatic cells, it is recommended to mount the cells with “jigs and straps”. The swelling of the cells usually occurs when: 1) the cells are overcharged, 2) there is a repeated high speed charging and discharging, 3) there is some fault of the cells.
Check our suggestions and hints under the swelling tag.
|—||Solid casing for the LFP battery packs needed: Lithium-iron-phosphate batteries from Thunder-Sky. They aren’t as sensitive to temperature, but they do need to be kept under pressure. This bracket is part of a vice I’m building for the batteries. As they heat up, they can swell and crack the casing if they’re not squeezed together. (source)|
FAQ: The Cell and Battery Swelling
It is necessary to observe the recommendations of the manufacturer concerning the initial charging of the cells. (See the instruction here). If the cells are initially charged too fast or overcharged, the internal structure of the cells may be damaged and the cell may start swelling. That is why it is important to charge the cells individually during the initial charge and to monitor the cells to avoid the permanent change of the shape of the cells.
Battery assembly using a packing straps
The simple solution to assemble individual cells into the battery packs: strapping them together by the plastic staps used for packing of parcels.