Student: Murtaza Zohair, graduate student in Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Cary Pint
Embedded and Data-Driven Diagnostics for Metal Anode Batteries
I am conducting research under the guidance of Professor Cary Pint, Charles Schafer (Battelle) Chair in Engineering and Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. My research focuses on enabling high specific energy metal anode batteries through two methods: embedded nanosensors and data driven prediction/optimization. The first method uses nanomaterials, such as graphene, embedded within a separator to monitor physical signatures of cell failure with negligible addition to the mass or volume. My work has demonstrated the use of this design to sense dendrite propagation through a separator in lithium and magnesium metal anode batteries, an event that can lead to battery ignition. I am also currently working to use machine learning guided optimization of sodium metal anode-free batteries electrodes to enable stable, dendrite-free cycling. My research direction is in line with NASA’s technological vision as highlighted in the 2020 Technology Taxonomy section TX03.2.1, where high specific energy and advanced chemistries beyond lithium-ion are key areas of interest. The Sensor-based Prognostics to Avoid Runaway Reactions and Catastrophic Ignition (SPARCI) project of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate has many direct parallels to my project as well, employing both sensor based and data driven methods to predict and prevent cell failure. NASA mission related projects are a focal point for our research group. We have previously partnered with NASA on a grant to develop an integrated structural battery for CubeSats which resulted in a peer-reviewed journal article.