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Research Papers

A Fatigue Life Study of Ultrasonically Welded Lithium-Ion Battery Tab Joints Based on Electrical Resistance

[+] Author and Article Information
Nanzhu Zhao

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712

Wei Li

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712
e-mail: weiwli@austin.utexas.edu

Wayne W. Cai, Jeffrey A. Abell

Manufacturing Systems Research Laboratory,
General Motors Global R&D,
Warren, MI 48090

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. Manuscript received April 26, 2013; final manuscript received May 26, 2014; published online August 6, 2014. Editor: Y. Lawrence Yao.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 136(5), 051003 (Aug 06, 2014) (7 pages) Paper No: MANU-13-1187; doi: 10.1115/1.4027878 History: Received April 26, 2013; Revised May 26, 2014

The fatigue life of ultrasonically welded lithium-ion battery tab joints is studied for electric and hybrid–electric vehicle (EV and HEV) applications. Similar to metallic materials, the electrical resistance of these ultrasonic welds strongly depends on their quality and the crack growth under fatigue loading. A fatigue life model is developed using the continuum damage mechanics (CDM) formulation, where the damage variable is defined using the electrical resistance of ultrasonic welds. Fatigue tests under various loading conditions are conducted with aluminum–copper battery tab joints made under various ultrasonic welding conditions. It is shown that the electrical resistance of ultrasonic welds increases characteristically during the fatigue life test. There is a threshold for the damage variable, after which the ultrasound welds fail rapidly. Due to welding process variation, welds made under the same process settings may have different fatigue performance. This quality difference may be classified using two parameters estimated from the fatigue life model. By monitoring the electrical resistance, it is possible to predict the remaining life of ultrasonically welded battery tab joints using only a portion of the fatigue test data. The prediction is more reliable by incorporating data beyond the half-life of the joints during the fatigue test.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

(a) A schematic a battery tab joint in this study, (b) a single weld joint, and (c) the loading condition of the joint

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Fig. 2

The fatigue test setup with electrical resistance measurement

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Fig. 3

(a) ΔR/R–N curves and (b) S–N curves from CATs of under-welds. The stress levels σa's are shown in (a).

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Fig. 4

(a) ΔR/R–N curves and (b) S–N curves from CATs of nominal-welds. The stress levels σa's are shown in (a).

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Fig. 5

(a) ΔR/R–N curves and (b) S–N curves from CATs of over-welds. The stress levels σa's are shown in (a).

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Fig. 6

Comparison between prediction model and experimental data from CATs. Points in the figures are experimental data; lines are fitted using the model.

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Fig. 7

Estimated α and β values used to classify weld quality

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Fig. 8

Comparison between model prediction and experimental data under various loading conditions. (a) CAT at 4 MPa; (b) LIT; and (c) VLT. Points in the figures are experimental data; lines are fitted using the model.

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