Understanding the Role of Temperature Cycling in Meeting Battery Test Standards

Monday, April 01 2024

While various battery testing methods exist, manufacturers prioritize two: the short circuit test and the temperature cycling test. The temperature cycling test is especially important for lithium-ion batteries. Manufacturers need to comply with industry standards and strive for higher quality and greater reliability to be competitive.

Understanding Battery Testing Standards

UL 1642 serves as a comprehensive guideline for assessing the performance of lithium batteries. Manufacturers adhere to this standard to guarantee their products meet rigorous safety and reliability criteria. Among the battery test methods outlined in UL 1642, the temperature cycling test is critical.

ESPEC North America is experienced in helping companies with temperature testing of li-ion batteries or equipment containing such batteries. For example, our benchtop and Platinous series chambers can do temperature cycling tests ranging from 70 to 20 to -40°C with 30-minute transitions. These chambers enable manufacturers to evaluate the battery's performance under extreme temperatures and temperature-related stress. 

The Temperature Cycling Test

Temperature cycling involves subjecting the battery to repeated cycles of extremely high and low temperatures, meanwhile the batteries are monitored to evaluate the battery's response to the hot or cold conditions, ensuring it meets minimum safety, reliability, and longevity standards. This testing also helps identify potential weaknesses so that necessary improvements can be made. 

What Does Temperature Cycling Entail?

The primary purpose of temperature cycling is to evaluate how lithium-ion batteries respond to fluctuations in temperature over time. Batteries used in automotive, consumer electronics, and other applications are often exposed to varying environmental conditions, including temperature extremes. Temperature cycling tests help manufacturers ensure that their batteries can withstand these fluctuations without compromising safety or performance. 

Key Parameters in Temperature Cycling

During temperature cycling tests, several key parameters are carefully controlled. These include the following: 

1. Temperature Range: Batteries are subjected to a predefined temperature range, typically fluctuating from extreme cold to extreme heat. This range varies depending on the application and industry standards but commonly spans from below freezing (-40°C or lower) to elevated temperatures (up to 70°C or higher). 

2. Transition Rate: The rate at which the temperature changes, known as the transition rate, is also controlled during temperature cycling tests. This rate simulates the gradual temperature changes that batteries experience in real-world scenarios. 

3. Cycle Duration: The duration of each temperature cycle varies depending on the testing requirements and industry standards. Typically, temperature cycling tests involve multiple cycles, with each cycle consisting of alternating periods of high and low temperatures. 

Assessing Battery Performance

 Temperature cycling tests provide valuable insights into various aspects of battery performance, including: 

  • Lifespan: Manufacturers can assess longevity and durability over time by subjecting batteries to repeated temperature cycles. Batteries that exhibit consistent performance throughout numerous cycles are deemed more reliable and suitable for use in demanding applications.
  • Safety: Temperature cycling tests help identify potential safety hazards associated with lithium-ion batteries, such as thermal runaway or internal short circuits. Batteries that pass temperature cycling tests demonstrate robust safety features and are less prone to malfunctions or accidents.
  • Reliability: The stress from the temperature testing can accelerate degradation in performance, allowing better evaluation of the batteries’ usable life and overall reliability.

ESPEC North America offers temperature cycling chambers equipped with advanced features to optimize testing efficiency and accuracy. These chambers are designed to facilitate rapid temperature transitions while maintaining precise control over temperature variations. By leveraging ESPEC's temperature cycling chambers, manufacturers can streamline their testing processes and accelerate product development cycles without compromising on reliability or quality. To discuss your needs regarding battery testing procedures, reach out online.