A Device for Mechanically Detecting Anomalous Battery Operation

Web Published:

Princeton Docket # 15-3151-1


Researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University have developed a new device which monitors mechanical changes in a battery cell and predicts a battery failure event before it happens.


Battery failures are commonly thought of as being unpredictable, arising from unexpected sources such as internal defects, adverse environmental conditions, and faulty controllers. Conventional battery management systems can identify the occurrence of failure events by detecting anomalous battery cell behavior using non-mechanical measurements of parameters such as voltage, current, and temperature. However, these conventional measurements lack the ability to reliably predict an impending failure event with sufficient time for preventative action, instead concomitantly detecting the event as it occurs.


This innovation addresses this issue by using mechanical measurements to identify anomalous battery behavior indicative of a failure event before it occurs, allowing impending-failure cells to be safely removed from service. Some anomalous battery behaviors include lithium metal plating, internal short-circuiting, and gas evolution indicate impending failures that can be detected using mechanical measurements. These mechanical measurements can also be used to detect battery controller faults by providing redundant measurements of state of charge/health that can be cross referenced with voltage/current measurements of the battery controller. This technology can be combined with conventional battery management systems to provide higher-fidelity battery control and monitoring, and is compatible with common battery chemistries such as lithium-ion. The ability to predict battery failure will promote the development of next generation battery systems with higher safety and reliability.



•       Large scale battery systems

•       Consumer electronics

•       Electric vehicles

•       Avionics



•       Ability to predict impending failure events

•       Compatible with common battery chemistries

•       Can be a standalone system or incorporated in conventional battery management system


The faculty inventor


Craig Arnold is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Associate Director of Academic Affairs in the Princeton Institute for Science and Technology of Materials. His research primarily focuses on laser processing and transport in materials with particular emphasis on shaping laser-material interactions. Among many awards and honors Professor Arnold has won are the NSF Career Award (2006) and ONR Young Investigators Award (2005).


Intellectual Property & Development status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.



Michael R. Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

• (609) 258-6762• tyerech@princeton.edu

Xin (Shane) Peng

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

• (609) 258-5579• xinp@princeton.edu



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Prabhpreet Gill
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Craig Arnold
John Cannarella
Xinyi Liu