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KULR Technology Group to develop 3D printed battery systems for space

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KULR‘s passive propagation resistant (PPR) and internal short circuit (ISC) technologies will be used to develop 3D printed battery systems for deployment in future space missions. The PPR 3D Printed Battery System by KULR Technology Group will meet the JSC 20793 Revision D safety standard created by NASA for crewed space missions.

The Company’s PPR solution was already used by NASA to transport to and store batteries aboard the International Space Station. Earlier this fall NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) selected KULR for a dual-use technology development agreement to build 3D printed battery systems for manned and robotic space applications.

KULR Technology
The Battery ISC Device allows researchers to predictably instigate battery cell failure and then study the causes behind them in order to build safer batteries. Illustration by Joshua Bauer, NREL.

NASA employs highly rigorous assurance and safety standards, especially for KULR’s man-rated technologies. KULR’s PPR design solutions for future manned and unmanned space missions are an ideal fit for mass, design flexibility and cost while maintaining this safety rigor through battery risks such as thermal runaway.

In 2018, under agreement with NREL, KULR Technology became the exclusive manufacturing, distribution, and marketing partner for the patented, award-winning Battery Internal Short Circuit (ISC) Device to industrial, research, and design clients. Developed by NREL and NASA, the Battery ISC Device revolutionized the way lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are evaluated so designs can be improved before batteries hit store shelves.

Before the invention of the Battery ISC Device, researchers did not have a way to reliably simulate a true internal short circuit and cause predictable Li-ion battery cell failures that could be analyzed. One such failure is thermal runaway—when extreme heat from the failure of one battery cell spreads to neighboring cells, resulting in fire, or even explosion.

The ability to isolate and study failing cells within larger packs and modules also makes it possible to identify production issues, allowing battery designers to incorporate safety measures into battery designs to minimize the potential for hazardous cell-to-cell propagation.

The ability to 3D print in space will reserve and optimize cargo capacity for other valuable items. Further, 3D printing has the potential to make human space exploration less costly and allow for extended missions, which could also prove to be essential in future manned Mars missions.

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