January 29, 2019

Research Project : Electrical fault detection in automotive battery packs

Automotive battery packs typically contain hundreds of individual cells in a series/parallel configuration. Failure of electrical junctions between cells, caused by faults introduced during manufacturing or by deterioration during operation can lead to early pack failure, with significant cost and quality implications for OEMs.

This project aims to develop an electrical technique, based on time domain reflectometry (TDR), for the detection and localisation of electrical faults within a battery pack or module. TDR is a well-established technique in the power distribution and semiconductor industries, used to detect faults on high-voltage transmission lines and integrated circuit packages. In this project, we will adapt the technique to operate on smaller length scales (sub-cm), and parallel electrical architectures relevant to battery packs.

The project will involve the following:

  • Design and fabrication of simple test PCBs for demonstration of the technique in different series/parallel configurations
  • Experimental work using WMG’s new TDR rig
  • Development of signal processing algorithms in MatLab or LabVIEW to turn raw time-domain data into distance-to-fault information
  • Development of a demonstrator system to showcase the technique for realtime fault detection.

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