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Battery Pack Incident Investigation

Should a battery fail in a manner that results in electrical malfunction, thermal damage, case rupture, or combustion, a number of questions typically arise:

 

  • Was the failure induced by external forces, such as severe mechanical damage or excessive heat exposure?
  • Was the failure the result of cell, protection circuitry, or pack design?
  • Was the failure the result of an internal cell fault or a pack-manufacturing flaw that was not detected by the quality control procedures put in place by the manufacturer?
  • Does the failure represent a random occurrence or is it an early sign of a developing trend?
  •  If a product recall is warranted, which manufacturing lots should be recalled?

Differentiating between the potential causes of any failure can be difficult, particularly when the failed product or system has been heavily damaged. Based on numerous lithium-ion battery failure analysis investigations, Exponent has developed a systematic investigation approach that has proven effective in identifying the particular causes of any given failure and developing recommendations for corrective action as appropriate.