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Introduction to the manufacture of Lithium-Ion batteries

The greatest challenge of a generation is climate change and moving away from fossil fuels that we as humans have been using for more than a century with what is predicted as irreversible damage to the planet.

Batteries are one of the focus areas to solve this problem particularly in transportation such as the car plus the enormous range of handheld items that are battery powered from Vacuum cleaners to tools to gadgets and bicycles and beyond. Batteries are, as everything tends to become, improving to give better performance with time.

The manufacture of Lithium-Ion Batteries is a global operation, and this excites PCT. Battery manufacture uses lots of Inert Gas. Any industry that uses gas will measure of control the flow of that gas. PCT as the UK Sole Distributor for Alicat Scientific Instruments can help with measuring and controlling gas flow with the Alicat range of Mass Flow Meters and Mass Flow Controllers.

Why do Lithium-Ion batteries need Gas during manufacture?

To create an inert atmosphere during battery production they ensure no Air is in contact with the Lithium batteries. Lithium is very reactive to O2 and N2. The N2 and O2 in the Air can cause performance changes that deteriorate the battery and render them failures, the O2 will react to give an oxide and Nitrogen N2 can create a Nitride. Thus, a good accurate flow of an inert gas such as Argon or Helium can ensure better performance of the battery. Due to the cost of Helium, Argon is the preferred gas method. The flow needs to be at a controlled flow based on the operation, a Mass Flow Controller is needed.

The Alicat MC Series is suited to create inert atmospheres

The Alicat MC Series is ideally suited to this purpose. The MFC has 98 built in gas types in its onboard memory, should another inert gas such as changing from Nitrogen to Argon be needed. Simply select the gas type, select the flow rate and the rapid response of an Alicat MFC can delivery the inert gas around the vicinity of where it is required. The MFC is calibrated and ready for any of the 98 gas pre-loaded. Moreover the 10,000 turn down can allow flexibility in the flow range needed from high to low in often one device.

The Alicat MFC have excellent options for signals of the Mass flow rate, Volumetric flow rate, Temperature and Pressure all of which can be measured on the MC Series. Signals from mA to V, through RS232 and RS485 to DeviceNet, Profibus/ Net EtherCAT etc. Contact PCT for a full list of options.

Solution for size and flow rate restrictions

Depending on the size constraints and flow rate, Alicat also offer compact Inert Gas MFC’s.

The Alicat BC Series size and speed of response are well suited to being placed within a small system.

Further reading

To read more about Battery Development Research on the Alicat website, here’s a link to their Battery Development Research literature on a similar topic to the above article.

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