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Battery Post-Test Facility

Ira Bloom

Argonne scientist Ira Bloom prepares to open a lithium-ion cell in the Post-Test Facility.  Prior to opening the cell, a thermocouple is attached to provide information on its temperature.

Nancy Dietz Rago

Argonne scientist Nancy Dietz Rago analyzes results in the Post-Test Facility. After a battery sample is characterized in the large glove box, it is transferred without exposure to air to the scanning-electron microscope for detailed, microstructural characterization.


Argonne’s new Battery Post-Test Facility (PTF) allows the laboratory’s renowned researchers to dissect, harvest and analyze battery materials from used and previously tested battery cells in order to identify for developers and manufacturers the exact mechanisms that limit the life of their battery cells. In the past, the cause of performance degradation could only be inferred.

The PTF is one of the few known facilities in the world capable of conducting this research, and the only one doing work at this scale. The new Argonne lab can handle cells up to 300 Ah, while other facilities like this are typically limited to about 1-2 Ah.

The facility is unique in that all its work, from dismantling the cell to harvesting and analyzing its components, is performed in one glove box. This keeps the air-sensitive battery materials pristine and intact, yielding more information about what’s really going on in the later stages of characterization and analysis.

Performing this work under an inert-atmosphere also guarantees that observed changes in batteries chemistries or materials are due to electrochemical operation, rather than sample manipulation.

The PTF complements Argonne’s Electrochemical Analysis and Diagnostics Laboratory, where batteries from both private and government-funded initiatives have been tested for more than three decades. 

While its current focus is lithium-ion batteries, the PTF is highly flexible; its equipment can characterize materials from any type of battery, from lead-acid (found in most of today’s cars) to cutting-edge technologies, such as lithium-air.



Ira Bloom

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