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Fast Charging Rate and High Energy Power Systems for High Shock Survivability



The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. 


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this topic is to develop fast charging rate and high energy power systems for gunfired projectiles to survive high shock survivability of launch acceleration to 70,000 g's, to have a military shelf-life of 20 years, and survive flight vibrations to 10,000 cycles, and storage temperatures from -55 degrees C to 125 degrees C. 


DESCRIPTION: This effort seeks proposals that apply multidisciplinary approaches including integration of innovative manufacturing methods, architectures and materials that demonstrates one or more Lithium-ion cells of size greater or equal to 0.5 Ah, scalable to support a 24 volt or larger applications, that is abuse tolerant to mechanical shock and vibration, operates in a wide range of thermal conditions with excellent cyclic performance, provides high rate performance compatibility, and low inherent materials and systems safety risks. Proposed power supply solutions for munition applications that require High Power and Long Duration performance. One example, at a voltage of 5 volts and a current of 0.13 amps, a power supply must last at least 10 hours in a cylindrical volume of 1.3 inch by 1.3 inch. A second application requires a power supply to provide current at a rate of 2 amps for 10 hours while maintaining a voltage of no less than 4 volts as a worst case, the physical size of the phase II prototype must be confined to the space occupied by 3 COTTS AA batteries. 

In all application cases conformability of the power source is an added benefit to the applications, low cost and manufacturability are also of great importance. Meeting military shelf-life with minimum degradation as a function of the 20 year shelf-life is of great importance. Lithium ion batteries are known to supply high power and high energy capability and excellent storage capability on a weight to volume basis versus many available alternatives, offering promise for addressing power and energy shortfalls and requirements of US Army ARDEC. Nonetheless, criteria for ARDEC go beyond energy density where solutions are sought for not only for weight and volume reduction, but also extended operation time, high rate performance, and compatibility while operating in a wide range of ambient temperatures. Solutions also should be compatible with rugged operating environments, support criteria for low cost, high safety and reliability/maintainability, and provide other environmental compatibility. Moving lithium ion technology from the lab into the field has proven that such batteries may lack the extended cyclic performance, cycle life, and high rate compatibility when applied in demanding environments for armament and munitions systems. Additionally, Lithium-ion solutions may involve undesirable failure modes and risks that are not tolerant to military shock or operating conditions. Even in non-military environments, for example, there have been publicized risks of fires and explosions, recalling of laptop computers and issues for deployed aviation systems. ARDEC requirements for batteries can involve more demanding operating environments, need for greater cyclic performance, higher rate performance compatibility, and safety control in high mechanical shock environments including for dismounted and other munitions systems. ARDEC systems also must satisfy discharge and recharge in cold temperature environments and potentially high rate performance such as for rapid recharging or discharging beyond civilian requirements. No single solution has come forward to date for meeting these rigorous requirements, and it is anticipated that a combination of multi-disciplinary approaches including new materials, new architectures and new manufacturing methods would be needed are needed to fulfill military requirements.


PHASE I: Conduct a systematic study and subsequent design of a fast charging rate and high energy power system that meet the desired high shock survivability, military shelf life, and operational flight requirements and storage temperatures. A multi-disciplinary approach including novel design, engineering, materials selection and architecture qualification and the production of qualification data and test plans to support Phase II. These Phase I efforts will include all key required materials and design developments needed to produce one or more full Lithiumion cells of size greater than 0.5 Ah in Phase II. Accordingly, Phase I will include a development/selection of anode, cathode, electrolyte and physical testing and qualification and selection for subsequent application in Phase II that will be compatible with future scaling to a 24 volt or larger application, capable of supporting a threshold of 5,000 cycles and objective of 10,000 cycles based upon subsequent accelerated time testing in Phase II, support and lead toward demonstration of discharge cycling in Phase II of no less than 80% of initial capacity after 500 cycles, and compatible with demonstration of high rate operation and recharging performance of at least 3C in Phase II.

Most portable batteries are rated at 1C, meaning that a 1,000mAh battery that is discharged at 1C rate should under ideal conditions provide a current of 1,000mA for one hour. The same battery discharging at 0.5C would provide 500mA for two hours, and at 2C, the 1,000mAh battery would deliver 2,000mA for 30 minutes. 1C is also known as a one-hour discharge; a 0.5C is a two-hour, and a 2C is a half-hour discharge.

The qualification, selection and design also should be compatible with enabling cold temperature cycling at -30F with favorable retention of capacity in Phase II. This Phase I effort also will address compatibility for abuse tolerance and deliver a final report that includes a test plan for use in Phase II including performance testing, high rate testing, and safety testing.


PHASE II: Will provide four milestone deliverables (1) The delivery of one of more full Li-ion cells of size greater than .5 Ah that are comprised of at least anode, cathode, electrolyte and physical design, materials and architecture selected in Phase I. (2) A concept design also will be provided to assess the scaling to a 24 volt or larger application and the elements of design for manufacturability. (3) A demonstration of high rate operation with a recharging rate of at least 3C, consistent with test plans developed in phase I. (4) The guidance and further documentation and test plan developed in Phase I to assist the Army in testing with a minimum of accelerated time testing that is indicative of supporting a threshold goal of 5,000 cycles and objective of 10,000 cycles. Initial qualification testing also may be undertaken to assess for retaining 80% of initial capacity after 500 cycles. A test framework also will be included for testing for cold temperature cycling at or approaching -30F with favorable retention of capacity. In addition, abuse tolerance testing may be undertaken for shock, nail testing and other methods to test for fire and explosion risks.


PHASE III: This technology would apply to weapon based platform applications. The commercial use could apply to the electric vehicle industry and also for energy recapture in industrial settings where renewable energy sources from machinery could provide huge cost savings.


KEYWORDS: multidisciplinary approachces, thermal conditions, high rate performance, low inherent materials, mechanical shock and vibration

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