Hawaii Patent of the Month – March 2022

Thermal runaway events are known problems in lithium ion batteries. They often occur during repeated charge and discharge cycles and are caused by an errant increase in temperature leading to a positive feedback loop resulting in damage. Manaflex, LLC has designed a system which prevents these events from initiating, saving the battery in turn.

One way the temperature might increase is due to escaped gas from one cell impinges onto another cell. The battery cell temperature then rises incredibly fast (think milliseconds). The energy stored in that battery is released very suddenly. This chain reaction creates extremely high temperatures (around 752 degrees Fahrenheit / 400 degrees Celsius). These temperatures can cause gassing of the battery and a fire that is so hot it can be nearly impossible to extinguish.

Headquartered in Hawaii, Manaflex specializes in designing, prototyping, and mass-producing aluminum based flexible printed circuits (FPCs). They’ve taken this expertise to improve and protect lithium ion batteries. Their design holds and protects each battery cell within a battery by pre fabricating a collector. The collector has a set of wells which envelope the cell. By fully enveloping the cell, the gas impingement to the battery cells can be prevented. This design prevents the gassing of the battery, mitigating the chance of thermal runaway or a fire.

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