A thermal management design using phase change material in embedded finned shells for lithium-ion batteries

Guanyi Chen, Yong Shi, Yue Yu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Phase change material (PCM) has recently been regarded as a promising thermal management means for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. However, solid-liquid phase change of many current PCMs occurs in a narrow temperature range, and the cooling performance of their liquid phase is rather poor. To tackle these issues, this article presents a battery thermal management (BTM) design which injects PCM into an aluminum shell around each cell, and machines the shell inner surfaces into a row of straight rectangular fins immersed into the PCM and its outer surfaces into a plain-fin shape exposed in the air. In the mild thermal conditions, the finned shells of two adjacent cells can be embedded and passive PCM cooling is employed. Once the PCM completely melts, the shells will move apart and an airflow will be driven through the gap between them. The BTM design can also protect Li-ion batteries in a freezing environment, by taking advantage of PCM solidification when the finned shells return to their embedded configuration. A series of experiments were conducted to examine its effectiveness on two 50Ah lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide (NCM) prismatic batteries, which were discharged at a capacity-rate of 2C and at room temperatures of T0=25C, 40C and −10C. It is shown that in the battery discharge at T0=25C, PCM in the embedded finned shells effectively reduced the average battery-surface temperature (T¯) and the maximum temperature difference (ΔTmax) by 21% and 36.7%, respectively, compared to bare batteries. At T0=40C, this BTM design successfully limited the growth of T¯ to 9.0C and led to ΔTmax no more than 1.5C. As to the low-temperature scenario, it maintained the batteries at temperatures above T0 for 55.2% longer than those without any BTM protections. Its cooling performance was also compared with that of the conventional liquid-cooling scheme using a bottom serpentine-channel cooling plate. All these results clearly demonstrate that the BTM design in this article can compensate for the deficiencies of conventional PCM-based BTM schemes. Regardless of whether the PCM phase change is available, it has well coped with different thermal management demands of Li-ion batteries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125680
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2024


  • Embedded finned shell
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Phase change material
  • Thermal management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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