We introduce a comprehensive finite-element analysis (FEA) computational model to accurately predict the thermo-mechanical stresses at heterogeneous joints and components of large-size sodium sulfur (NaS) cells during thermal cycling. Quantification of the thermo-mechanical stress is important because the accumulation of stress during cell assembly and/or operation is one of the critical issues in developing practical planar NaS cells. The computational model is developed based on relevant experimental assembly and operation conditions to predict the detailed stress field of a state-of-the-art planar NaS cell. Prior to the freeze-and-thaw thermal cycle simulation, residual stresses generated from the actual high temperature cell assembly procedures are calculated and implemented into the subsequent model. The calculation results show that large stresses are developed on the outer surface of the insulating header and the solid electrolyte, where component fracture is frequently observed in the experimental cell fabrication process. The impacts of the coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE) of glass materials and the thicknesses of cell container on the stress accumulation are also evaluated to improve the cell manufacturing procedure and to guide the material choices for enhanced thermo-mechanical stability of large-size NaS cells.
Journal of Power Sources – Elsevier
Published: Aug 30, 2016
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