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EaglePicher Technologies Demonstrates Successful Testing of a State-of-the-Art Lithium-Ion Battery System for the Navy

In collaboration with the U.S. Navy and Leonardo DRS, EaglePicher developed and executed a critical test procedure to demonstrate non-propagation of battery modules.

St. Louis, MO – EaglePicher® Technologies, a leading provider of battery power systems, successfully conducted an abusive battery casualty test, demonstrating no propagation. For the test, EaglePicher developed a modified version of their lithium-iron phosphate based lithium-ion battery modules utilizing commercial cells. This battery system is intended for integration into the U.S Navy’s ship power systems to provide energy for onboard systems.

This testing process, plan and objectives were designed through a collaboration between EaglePicher, the designer and manufacturer of the lithium-ion battery modules; Leonardo DRS, the energy magazine developer and integrator; and the U.S. Navy’s Electric Ships Office PMS 320, the program sponsor. The full propagation safety test was conducted by EaglePicher in their safety test facility located in Joplin, Missouri.

High-power technologies such as directed energy lasers are being incorporated into a range of Navy ships. These weapon systems require high power quality, efficient use of power and intermittent power for high bursts of energy. With increases in power demands, there is a corresponding increased need for battery safety. As more battery modules are added it is ever more important to decrease the possibility of battery propagation to other battery modules aboard the ship.

The established test process included “target” and “witness” battery modules. The “target” battery modules had one series string subjected to overcharging to initiate thermal runaway. Overcharging was selected because it can cause the most damage since more energy is available at the time of thermal runaway. The “witness” battery modules were fully charged, installed in racks around the “target” battery, and were used to determine if any propagation would occur beyond the “target” battery during the thermal runaway.

After testing was complete, it was determined that all testing objectives were met. While the “target” battery was fully consumed, it did not propagate to the “witness” batteries and did not sustain any apparent damage, pending further testing. All test objectives were met, including:

  • Demonstrate propagation prevention and risk reduction in preparation for NAVSEA S9310-AQ-SAF-010, Navy lithium battery safety program responsibilities and procedures
  • Demonstrate ability to create a thermal runaway condition within a battery module via overcharge with safeties disabled
  • Demonstrate the vent design produces predicable results in a multi-module cabinet arrangement
  • Determine safety margins for prevention of propagation to adjacent battery modules
  • Verify structural integrity of the battery module under test and adjacent battery modules
  • Validate thermal modelling of the cabinet, battery modules and cells

“After the test, seeing the unaffected batteries come out of the cabinet really demonstrated the integrity of this battery design and the validity of the built-in safety features,” stated George Cintra, Chief Technology Officer at EaglePicher. “Developing this vent test process with our partners, ensured our testing met the objectives of all those involved.”

The lithium-ion battery used in this test was designed and manufactured by EaglePicher. The modules contain over 200 individual lithium-ion cells.

Additional battery testing will continue at both EaglePicher and Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division over the coming months to further demonstrate the robustness of the solution including alternate initiation methods as well as the inherent performance of the electronic safety devices within the energy storage system.

About EaglePicher

EaglePicher Technologies designs, develops and produces mission-critical power systems. EaglePicher is an industry leading producer of batteries, battery management systems and energetic devices. For over 75 years, the company has served highly demanding requirements for defense, aviation and space battery applications. The company has nine North American manufacturing and research and development sites and over 900 employees.

About Leonardo DRS

Leonardo DRS is a prime contractor, leading technology innovator and supplier of integrated products, services and support to military forces, intelligence agencies and defense contractors worldwide. Its Naval Power Systems business unit is a trusted provider of innovative naval gas and hybrid power systems, control technology and support solutions for the U.S. Navy and navies around the world. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Leonardo DRS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leonardo S.p.A. See the full range of capabilities at and on Twitter @LeonardoDRSnews.

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