Present Research Students

Charmaine Gelant

Current study: MSc Chemistry

Project Title: The morphological and electrochemical investigation of sol-gel synthesized spinel Li4Ti5O12 used as anode material in Li-ion batteries.
Description: An investigation to the temperature phase transitions that occur during the sol-gel synthesis of doped and undoped lithium titanium oxide (Li4Ti5O12) used as anode material in lithium ion batteries. The changes in the physical properties of the materials phase transitions during their synthesis route will be studied that include their thermal mas loss by TGA, phase transitions by in-situ PXRD and the surface area by BET analysis. The final synthesized spinel Li4Ti5O12 electrochemical properties will be used as the anode material in building cells that will be combined with commercially available cathode material. The electrochemical properties will include capacity, rate performance and cycle life.
Francis le Roux

Current study: MEng Mechatronics

Project Title: Intelligent Battery Management System for high current applications of Lithium-Ion Batteries.
Description: The research work in collaboration with the Mechatronics department will focus on the development of sustainable energy management solutions for low voltage high current Lithium-Ion battery applications such as grid storage and the automotive industry. Due to the nature of Lithium-Ion cell chemistry, highly accurate and responsive Battery Management Systems (BMS) are required to ensure both safety and expected life cycle. This research thus involves the development of an intelligent BMS that will make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop a predictive state of health (SoH) algorithm to not only monitor the safety aspects of a typical battery that is exposed to a variety of extreme environmental conditions but also apply a suitable algorithm in terms of charging regimes to extend the life of the battery.
Amelie Krupp

Current study: MSc Physics: Oldenburg University (Germany)

Project Title: Incremental Capacity Analysis of Li-FePO4 batteries at single- and multi-cell level.
Description: The research work in collaboration with the Deutsche Luft und Raum (DLR) Institute at the Oldenburg University Germany will be looking at the development of suitable models to correlate a predictive ageing mechanism of lithium ion cells using the change in capacity with the change in voltage (dQ/dV) to that of a 12-14V module. The cell chemistry used in the study are Li-FePO4 that are subsequently aged by exposing them to a variety of discharge and charge rates. The shift in the subsequent dQ/dV with ageing will be compared to the nominal behaviour of the cells within a battery module. A suitable theoretical model would be developed to eventually measure the ageing behaviour of the battery module in a typical high current application such as starting of a vehicle.
Nompilo Ntombela

Current study: MSc Chemistry

Project Title: Encapsulation of flame retardant for lithium-ion battery.
Description: The research work will look at developing micro-encapsulated flame retardants that can be added to the electrolyte of Lithium-ion cells in order to reduce and supress the thermal events that can occur during the short circuit of a battery in application. A number of flame retardants will be investigated that would either allow the cell’s electrochemistry to effectively shut down or reduce the risk of a short-circuit propagation to develop a fire within the volatile organic electrolyte. The effect of such additives will be investigated on the cells performance that is required to discharge at high rates and low temperatures in typical batteries for diverse high current applications.
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