Author Topic: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?  (Read 1271 times)

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Online RoGeorgeTopic starter

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Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« on: May 06, 2023, 01:05:35 pm »
Found last months a 10Ah Li-Ion cell.  It was swollen, like a pillow, about 2-3 times its normal thickness.  Charged it to 4.2V, out of curiosity, and it seemed to take charge just fine.  Then I've stored it in a thick metal pot with a normal lid, for just in case the battery will vent.

Next day measured its voltage again, still 4.1V, and the swollen was almost gone.  Back then I thought the battery's plastic bag cover might have developed a microscopic puncture/rupture somewhere and the gasses vented.

Stored it back inside the pot, put the lidded pot on the balcony for just in case more gases will vent.  Today looked at the battery again, and it is very, very flat.  The external cover looks like there was some suction from the inside.  :o

The battery measures now 4.06V.  Temperature was about the same at all times, ~25*C.

In phones battery, I've never seen a battery to recover by itself.  This 10Ah is not from a phone, looks like a bulk Li-Po cell somebody discarded because it was so bulged.

Is the bulging reversible?  What conditions are needed for that to happen?
How come that the mobile phones batteries never recover once bulged?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2023, 01:09:18 pm by RoGeorge »
 

Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2023, 01:16:11 pm »
Maybe the heatsinking effect of the iron pot allowed the gases to recombine into the electrolyte by cooling it to condensation point?   :-//
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Online RoGeorgeTopic starter

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2023, 06:20:35 pm »
It was all at room-temperature.  :-//

The battery being that bulged when I found it, I was afraid it might vent.  Charged it at first at 10mA for a few hours, then let it at about 100mA for 10 more hours or so, then charged it at 1A for another 10-20 hours.  I don't recall the exact charging time, but I've kept charging it for a whole weekend, until it finally reached 4.2V.  Then finally disconnected it at 4.2V, after the charging current dropped under 0.1A or so.

It didn't heat during charging, and it was stored in the pot only many hours later after charging.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2023, 06:23:15 pm by RoGeorge »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2023, 06:34:38 pm »
I've never seen that happen, but if the cell is self-discharging in such a short period then it's obviously damaged and you really don't want to use a damaged LiPo cell, they have a nasty habit of failing spectacularly at some random later time. The self discharge should be negligible, a few percent a year perhaps.
 
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Online RoGeorgeTopic starter

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2023, 07:56:11 pm »
For now it is store inside that 3mm thick cast iron pot with a lid, in a concrete balcony with nothing else around.

I've write down the voltage a few times.  Measured max thickness of the pillow-like shape at first was 2cm and under small pressure inside (now it is 1.25cm everywhere, flat as a plank and under vacuum inside).
4.1873V - right after disconnected from the 4.2V charging, bulged as a pillow, some pressure inside but not much
4.1813V - 30 minutes later
4.1599V - 5 hours later
4.1390V - 15 hours later
4.1062V - 3 days later  <--  here it was de-bulged but no signs of internal vacuum, only a flask plastic cover
4.0935V - 5 days later
4.0663V - 20 days later  <--  today, as seen in the pics

The plan was to discharge it later and measure its capacity.  Because back then I've thought the plastic cover has ruptured, I've just let it there and never measured the capacity.

Maybe the bulging gasses did escaped, and something else entered and started another chemical reaction, and that absorbed the remaining gases and made the plastic cover stick to the battery material, thus self-sealing whatever micro-puncture might have been there before.

Another observation is I remember the internal material softer 3 weeks ago than it is now.  Not sure if this is because of the vacuum inside, or if the battery material started to harden itself.

Online RoGeorgeTopic starter

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2023, 08:35:30 pm »
Made a chart with voltage over time, after a slow full charging terminated at 4.200V and 100mA.

Online RoGeorgeTopic starter

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2023, 07:20:00 am »
Just for the records, still showing suction-like from inside, the inside material feels more stiff/hardened when pressed with the fingers, added 2 more data points, after 34 days 4.0605V, and today 2023-06-08, after 52 days 4.0571V.  Voltage was measured at all times at a battery temperature of about 24...25 Celsius.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2023, 07:24:28 am by RoGeorge »
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2023, 10:08:45 am »
My understanding is that the bulging of a Li-Po cell is due to the buildup of carbon dioxide. It doesn't automatically mean the cell is dead, but it likely means it is somewhat degraded and liable to future failure.  I'm not sure if it means the cell is likely to combust though - but I'd still be very cautious around them.

This is common apparently on certain Nissan Leafs (which use a battery chemistry which is utter s***) but the vehicles will usually still drive okay for some time before a cell goes totally out of balance or open circuit.
Example - https://www.speakev.com/threads/swollen-battery-pack.169831/
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2023, 11:01:58 am »
The chemistry is complicated. a common electrolyte is lithiumhexafluorophosphate, my understanding is that it takes some of the lithium cobaltoxide away when turning gasseous, which is in my basic chemistry not reversible?
 

Offline tunk

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2023, 11:17:39 am »
I think I would try maybe 2-3-4 discharge/charge cycles,
and then monitor the voltage for a few weeks. The drop
between the two last points isn't too bad.
 

Offline Infraviolet

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2023, 02:38:44 pm »
If you want to charge/discharge cycle it any more I'd keep it outside on a concrete surface well away from buildings and well away from dry grass/vegetation. Perhaps place bets on which iteration of charging, or even discharging, it will be in when it combusts.
 

Offline AndyBeez

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2023, 03:20:02 pm »
No mysterous chemistry foo, it went down because the plastic pouch burst along a seam. Next time it will not bulge because the hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide gases that causes inflation (sometimes to 50psi) will be able to vent freely into the room. Discharge this battery and bin it.

Interesting paper for the EEs - "Calendar Aging and Gas Generation in Commercial Graphite/NMC-LMO Lithium-Ion Pouch Cells"
 https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1149/2.0241714jes
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Online RoGeorgeTopic starter

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2023, 05:57:21 pm »
Could be so, though the outside pouch looks sealed now, just like there would be some suction from inside the cell.  Interesting paper, thank you.

Online amyk

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2023, 02:15:37 am »
Since you put the lid on the pot, if any electrolyte vented it should contain the vapours.

If it deflated because it burst, the electrolyte smell is very noticeable, fruity and not unpleasant.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Is this a magic pot, or a self-healing Li-Ion battery?
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2023, 03:52:03 am »
Are you working at Abbott, by any chance? ;D
 


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