Battery engineering

26-04-2023 | Posted by Joaquín Martí

Ingeniería de baterías

Our efforts to fight climate change include doing away with internal combustion engines (ICE) for passenger cars. Thus, the support that electric vehicles (EVS) and their associated technologies are receiving worldwide. Partly as a result, an estimated 13 million fully electric or hybrid passenger cars will be sold this year, bringing their total number to some 40 million, against a global fleet of about 1.5 billion vehicles in operation. These figures illustrate the size of the task ahead if we are to achieve a noticeable dent in emissions.

Most of the drawbacks of an EV stem from the battery storing its energy. Current batteries are large, heavy, and expensive compared with the fuel tanks of ICE-powered cars. Moreover, they provide a rather limited range, take a relatively long time to recharge, and must rely on a sparse network of recharging stations. Also, batteries degrade with use and must be replaced after a few years.

There is therefore lots of scope for improvement in battery design, as well as for optimising the use of their stored energy. Notice, for example, that simply the HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) can reduce range by up to 40% for keeping the passengers comfortable and ensuring that the battery operates in optimal conditions.

Digital solutions for all scales

Batteries are the fuel tanks in EVS. They need to store as much energy as possible to extend the range, thereby minimising range anxiety, and to maintain safety in case of unexpected events.

Batteries are highly complex systems, requiring advanced engineering methods at all levels: from chemistry to cell engineering, to module and pack engineering, and finally integration into full vehicles.

Dassault Systèmes provides battery solutions for all those scales. The BIOVIA brand uses chemistry modelling capabilities to design optimally the battery materials for aging. The CATIA brand includes battery libraries for efficient 1D simulations of cells, modules, and packs. In this system-level representation, the aging, thermal, and electrical behaviours of each cell are combined to understand the behaviour of an entire module of cells.

Together with the molecular level modelling characteristics, the mechanical, thermal, diffusion, and electrical behaviour of individual cells can then be simulated in 3D. SIMULIA capabilities are extensively used on cell and full battery modules to improve strength, stiffness, and safety in accident and other challenging scenarios.

Finally, battery packs integrated into full vehicle models can also be simulated under realistic test conditions. The communication of information between the different scales is key and requires a unified engineering platform, such as that provided by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

We at Principia have already done some simulation work to assist the engineering design of batteries. And we would be delighted to do much more in support of your developments. The truth is that we all have a long way to go before we electrify our passenger cars.

Note: This post is partly based on one by Dassault Systèmes, which you are welcome to peruse if you would like to have additional information.

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