In battery system design, computer-aided design, engineering and advanced analysis methods are very important. There are many forms of computer assistance, ranging from the three-dimensional models often used in the engineering field, to the heat production and heat dissipation of the battery under different working conditions, and the changes in the internal mechanical properties of the battery under different working conditions. At present, computer-aided design is also moving toward a deeper level, such as simulating the internal electrochemical and physical changes of the battery, as well as the internal interaction of the battery under different working conditions. The purpose of all these auxiliary tools is to make the battery design process faster and battery performance better.
When we talk about battery size design, no industry standard “calculator” can help, at least not for lithium-ion batteries. Some battery manufacturers have developed their own tools, some of which are available online, but usually only for customers, they will only use their own batteries. Many companies develop these tools as tools used by their sales and application engineering teams in order to be able to use the basic theory of Ohm’s Law to quickly determine the volume and capacity of potential battery systems. These are relatively easy to create in MS Excel or similar spreadsheet or database type programs. If you have enough performance data, you can get a very accurate tool.
When it comes to analytical tools, there are several methods available, including some ongoing development tools, which are led by organizations such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and joined with several different companies , And received partial funding from the Department of Energy (DOE). One such tool is the computer-aided engineering of the Electric-Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) project, which aims to accelerate the development and cost reduction of lithium-ion batteries for next-generation electric vehicles by achieving four main goals.
(1) Develop engineering design tools for lithium-ion battery cells and battery packs:
(2) Reduce the time for battery prototype design and manufacturing;
(3) Improve the overall performance, safety and life of the battery;
(4) Reduce battery cost.
Private companies, such as software analysis developer CD-ADAPCO, which is also one of the participants of the CAEBAT project, have provided several analysis tools, the purpose of which is to help evaluate different battery types, chemical and thermal performance, but these companies develop solutions The goal is just to stay at the single battery level.
In addition to the development of software and analysis tools by private companies, many national laboratories and universities are engaged in the research and development of battery design optimization tools. The Crash and Crashworthiness Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has designed a model that can evaluate the changes in the interior of the battery cell, the battery cell, and the entire battery pack in an electric vehicle under impact conditions. Through modeling, simulation, and comparison with actual tests, it is possible to understand the changes of different types of batteries during impact and puncture. Recently, the MIT research team analyzed the impact of obstacles on the road on the battery pack in the journal Journal of Power Sources. These effects can well explain the battery pack on the bottom of the vehicle when the Tesla electric car is driving through the obstacle. And caused the battery pack failure accident. Through modeling and simulation, researchers can understand the cause immediately after an electric vehicle accident occurs, and propose an optimized design plan for electric vehicles and battery packs to avoid similar accidents from happening again.
Another software tool that can provide this type of analysis is ANSYS. ANSYS provides a set of software analysis tools called “Fluent”, which is an advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tool. Although the tool was originally designed to analyze mechanical and thermal systems, it does a very good job of analyzing thermal management systems in energy storage systems. In this software package, the battery is modeled and the material properties and heat generation of the battery are identified and associated with their respective components. Then, the software simulates the flow of cooling or (heating) air or liquid in the battery pack to evaluate its effectiveness in cooling the battery and analyze “hot spots”. This is a very valuable tool that can be used to design thermal systems. Through modeling, modify the design, and then run the model calculations, and repeat this process to develop an optimized thermal solution. Another tool that can be used for thermal analysis of lithium-ion battery cells and systems is the Abaqus software developed by DS Simulia.
Similar simulation and modeling software products are provided by companies such as MathWorks, which provide a set of products called MATLAB and SIMULINK. These two tools are integrated into a product that is designed to build and simulate mathematical models, algorithm development, and many mathematical model developments. MATLAB and SIMULINK are development tools frequently used by software engineers to design battery management systems (BMS), communication and control systems. COMSOL provides an analysis and modeling tool based on the “multi-physical field” model, which means that it can perform thermal analysis, mechanical analysis, fluid flow analysis, electrical analysis, chemical analysis, etc.
All these tools and software packages represent some of the most common simulation and analysis tools used in the battery engineering and design process, but it is not a complete list, and there is no intention to say that this software is better than the other. The best advice that can be given is that your engineering team must evaluate their engineering and evaluation needs, as well as their skills, and then discuss with software vendors, and choose the right tools to meet their development goals and engineering budget.