The ECEC Li-ion Battery Manufacturing Laboratory (BML) is presently the only such facility at a U.S. university. Because the facility allows researchers to fabricate automotive batteries from raw materials, they are free to vary these constituents and interior structures of the battery to improve performance, cycle life and cost.
The BML allows for fabrication of both the industry standard 18650 Li-ion cell and the smaller 2016 Li-ion coin cell, which can be more rapidly fabricated to initially and quickly test internal modifications.
The facilities include a mixer for preparing the electrode slurry material, a semi-automatic coating machine, an apparatus for slitting the electrodes, an electrode winding machine, ultrasonic and arc welders for attaching tabs to the electrodes and to the 18650 cans, a two-person glove box which provides the moisture- and oxygen-free environment required by the electrolyte, an electrolyte filling machine and a crimper for sealing the battery once it is filled.
Specific equipment includes environmental chambers, several Arbin battery testing stations - some capable of sourcing and sinking currents as high as 200 Amperes, and many 3-electrode cells for testing cylindrical and prismatic batteries.