Thermal runaway propagation in linear battery module under low atmospheric pressure

Yanhui Liu, Huichang Niu, Cangsu Xu, Xinyan Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the mechanism of battery thermal runaway propagation under low atmospheric pressure is critical for the safe operation of battery energy storage systems. This work explores the thermal runaway propagation over a linear arrayed 18650-type lithium-ion battery module in a low-pressure chamber. The effects of ambient pressure (0.1 kPa to 100 kPa), temperature, and electrical connection mode are comprehensively investigated. Results indicate that the propensity of thermal runaway propagation for the open-circuit battery array is much lower, and it only occurs at high ambient temperature and ambient pressure. For parallel-connected battery modules, as ambient pressure decreases, the rate of thermal-runaway propagation first increases due to the reduced environmental cooling (i.e., thermal controlled). It then falls due to lower remaining electrolytes after venting (i.e., venting controlled). The pressure of maximum thermal runaway propagation speed is 60 kPa. The maximum time interval for the thermal runaway of the next cell is about 7 min. A simplified heat transfer analysis was proposed to explain the trend and limits of thermal runaway propagation and reveal the dual effect of pressure. This work provides new insights into thermal runaway propagation, which can deepen the understanding of battery fire safety under low pressure and inspire the thermal-safety design of the lithium-ion battery modules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119086
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2022


  • Fire hazards
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Propagation speed
  • Sub-atmospheric pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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