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1. WO2000036667 - FERMETURE DE CELLULE ELECTROCHIMIQUE

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

ELECTROCHEMICAL CELL CLOSURE
This invention relates to electrochemical cells.
Electrochemical cells, such as alkaline batteries, are commonly used as energy sources. Generally, alkaline batteries have a cathode, an anode, a separator, and an alkaline electrolyte solution. The cathode is typically formed of a cathode material such as manganese dioxide, carbon particles, alkaline electrolyte solution, and a binder. The anode can be formed of a gel including alkaline electrolyte solution and an anode material such as zinc particles. The separator is disposed between the cathode and the anode. The electrolyte solution, which is dispersed throughout the battery, can be a hydroxide solution such as aqueous potassium hydroxide. The capacity of the electrochemical cell is related to the amount of anode material and cathode material that can occupy the cell within the physical and chemical constraints of the cell and electrochemical performance parameters.
In general, the invention features an electrochemical cell having a high capacity. The cell capacity can be increased by a method of selecting cell components to achieve particular volume ratios within the cell. Specific volume ratios that lead to high capacity include the ratio of the internal cell volume to the external volume, the ratio of the closure volume to the external volume, the ratio of the closure volume to the internal cell volume, the ratio of the seal volume to the internal cell volume, and the ratio of the seal volume to the external volume. Using the method, cells having improved capacity, while maintaining safety features, can be prepared. In addition, the method can lead to a decrease in the amount of housing, cap, and seal material used in the cell.
In one aspect, the invention features a method of manufacturing an electrochemical cell including a housing, an insulating seal, and an end cap. The housing has an inner diameter, a closed end having an inner closed end surface, and an open end. The insulating seal has a seal volume. The insulating seal and the end cap together form a cell closure having an inner closure surface. The cell closure has a closure volume. The housing and the cell closure are assembled at the open end of the housing with the insulating seal between the housing and the end cap to form the cell. The cell has an internal cell volume defined by the inner closure surface, the inner closed end surface, and the inner diameter of the housing. In addition, the cell has an external diameter and an external height within a cell size envelope. The cell size envelope has an external volume.
The ratio of the internal cell volume to the external volume can be, for example, greater than about 0.83, preferably greater than about 0.86, more preferably greater than 0.90, and most preferably greater than 0.92. The ratio of the closure volume to the external volume can be, for example, less than about 0.07, preferably less than about 0.05, and more preferably less than about 0.045. The ratio of the closure volume to the internal cell volume can be, for example, less than about 0.06. The ratio of the seal volume to the internal cell volume can be, for example, less than about 0.02. The ratio of the seal volume to the external volume can be, for example, less than about 0.02.
A ratio of the closure volume to the external volume can be less than about 0.175 - 0.393*{log10 (external volume)} + 0.386* {log10(external volume)}2 -0.113*{log,0(external volume)}3. A ratio of the seal volume to the external volume can be less than 0.02 - 0.0065* {log10(external volume)}. A ratio of the internal cell volume to the external volume can be greater than 0.16*{logI0 (external volume)}3 -0.55* {log, 0(external volume)}2 + 0.55* {log, 0(external volume)} + 0.58. Preferably, log,0(external volume) is less than 1.
The external diameter of the cell can be about 10 mm (e.g., 10.2 mm; AAA cell), about 14 mm (e.g., 14.5 mm; AA cell), about 8 mm (e.g., 8.3 mm;
AAAA cell), about 27 mm (e.g., 26.6 mm; C cell), or about 34 mm (e.g., 34.2 mm; D cell). Preferably, the external cell diameter can be about 10 mm, about 14 mm, or about 8 mm.
In another aspect, the invention features an electrochemical cell. The cell includes a housing having an inner diameter, a closed end having an inner closed end surface, and an open end, an insulating seal, and an end cap. The housing and the end cap is joined together at the open end with the insulating seal between the housing an the end cap to form the cell. The insulating seal has a seal volume. The insulating seal and the end cap together form a cell closure having an inner closure surface. The cell closure has a closure volume. The cell has an internal cell volume defined by the inner closure surface, the inner closed end surface, and the inner diameter. The cell has an external diameter and an external height within a cell size envelope having an external volume. The cell is characterized by a ratio of the closure volume to the external volume which is less than about 0.175 -0.393* {log10(external volume)} + 0.386* {log,0(external volume)}2 - 0.113*
{log,0(external volume)}3. The cell size envelope can include, for example, a diameter of between about 13.5 and 14.5 millimeters and a length of between about 49.0 and 50.5 millimeters, a diameter of between about 9.5 and 10.5 millimeters and a length of between about 42.5 and 44.5 millimeters, or a diameter of between about 7.7 and 8.3 millimeters and a length of between about 41.5 and 42.5 millimeters.
Other features and advantages will be apparent from the following description of embodiments of the invention, and from the claims.
FIG. 1 is schematic drawing depicting a cross-sectional view of an electrochemical cell.
FIG. 2 is a graph depicting the ratio of seal volume to external volume for each of the cell sizes.
FIG. 3 is a graph depicting the ratio of closure volume to external volume for each of the cell sizes.
FIG. 4 is a graph depicting the ratio of internal cell volume to external volume for each of the cell sizes.
Referring to FIG. 1, an electrochemical cell 8 includes end cap 10 and cell housing 20. Cell housing 20 includes open end 22 and closed end 24 and an inner diameter Dl. Closed end 24 has an inner surface 26. Cell 8 has dimensions that fit within overall cell height and width dimensions which together establish a cell size envelope, as specified by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for a variety of cell sizes, including AAAA, AAA, AA, C and D size cells. For example, AAAA size cells (IEC designation "LR61" cells) have a cell size envelope including a diameter of between about 7.7 and 8.3 millimeters and a length of between about 41.5 and 42.5 millimeters, AAA size cells (IEC designation "LR03" cells) have a cell size envelope including a diameter of between about 9.5 and 10.5 millimeters and a length of between about 42.5 and 44.5 millimeters, AA size cells (IEC designation "LR06" cells) have a cell size envelope including a diameter of between about 13.5 and 14.5 millimeters and a length of between about 49.0 and 50.5 millimeters, C size cells (IEC designation "LR14" cells) have a cell size envelope including a diameter of between about 26.2 and 28.7 millimeters and a length of between about 48.5 and 50.5 millimeters, and D size cells (IEC designation "LR20" cells) have a cell size envelope including a diameter of between about 32.2 and 34.2 millimeters and a length of between about 59.5 and 61.5 millimeters. The
corresponding idealized cylindrical volumes based on the IEC overall cell height and width dimensions, or cell size envelope, establish external volume 200 for a particular cell size. Cell 8 has an external diameter D2 and an external height H2. For a particular cell size, diameter D2 and height H2 are selected to be within the cell size envelope. Housing 20 can be constructed of nickel plated steel.
Insulating seal 30 provides a seal between open end 22 and end cap

10. Insulating seal 30 and end cap 10 together form cell closure 32. Cell closure 32 has an inner surface 35. Insulating seal 30 has seal volume 36, which can be determined by dividing the mass of the seal by the density of the manufacturing material of the seal. Cell closure 32 has a closure volume 38. Closure volume 38 is the sum of seal volume 36, the portion of current collector volume 37 which penetrates closure 32 to projection surface 39, and the volume occupied by end cap 10. Projection surface 39 extends through current collector 60 as an imaginary extension (a horizontal surface in the cell is represented as a line in the cross-section shown in FIG. 1) of closure inner surface 35. Thus, closure volume 38 includes current collector volume 37. Closure volume 38 can be decreased by reducing seal volume 36 or by otherwise altering the geometry of seal 30 and the design of end cap 10. End cap 10 can be constructed of a conductive metal having good mechanical strength and corrosion resistance such as a nickel plated cold rolled steel or stainless steel, preferably, nickel-plated low carbon steel.
End cap 10 can be designed to have a structure that functions as a radial spring, as described in U.S. Patent No. 5,759,713, or U.S. Patent No.
5,532,081, each of which is incorporated herein by reference. A radial spring design can allows the end cap 10 to withstand high radial compressive forces when housing 20 is crimped around end cap 10 and seal 30 to provide a tight seal even though the cell may be exposed to extremes in environmental temperature.
Insulating seal 30 can be an insulating-disk or grommet. Insulating disk 30 can be formed of a single piece construction of plastic insulating material, such as an injection molded plastic. Insulating seal 30 can be composed of a durable, corrosion resistant plastic such as a polyamide (e.g., nylon, such as nylon 6,6), polypropylene, talc filled polypropylene, sulfonated polyethylene, or other
polyamide-like polymers. Insulating seal 30 can be permeable to hydrogen. Suitable insulating seal materials and structures are described in, for example, U.S. Patent No. 5,080,985, U.S. Patent No. 5,750,283, or U.S. Ser. No. 09/047,264, filed March 24, 1998, each of which is incorporated herein by reference.
End cap 10 includes aperture 12, which can be of various shapes, including circular, oval, rectangular or parallel-piped. Insulating seal 30 includes a small rupturable membrane portion 34 underlying aperture 12. The size of aperture 12 and the thickness of underlying rupturable membrane 34 can each be adjusted so that the membrane 34 will extrude through aperture 12 and rupture when gas pressure within cell 8 reaches a predetermined level. For example, the thickness of membrane 34 can be advantageously be between about 0.05 mm and 0.40 mm (e.g., between 0.20 mm and 0.40 mm) and the area of aperture 12 can be between about 3 mm2 and 50 mm2. For AAAA, AAA, AA, C and D size cells thickness of seal 30 can be between about 0.30 mm and 0.80 mm.
End cap 10 is in electrical contact with elongated current collector 60. Current collector 60 extends into internal cell volume 100, contacting cathode material 110 within cell 8. Current collector 60 can be selected from a variety of known electrically conductive metals found to be useful as current collector materials, for example, brass, tin plated brass, bronze, copper or indium plated brass. End cap 10 can function as an electrical terminal for the cell (e.g., a negative terminal for alkaline cell). Housing 20 is in contact with anode material 120 within cell 8, and closed end 24 can function as the other electrical terminal for the cell. In an alkaline cell, anode material 120 can include zinc metal and cathode material 110 can include manganese dioxide. Suitable zinc and manganese dioxide materials are well known in the art or are described, for example, in U.S. Patent Nos. 4,585,716, 5,277,890, 5,348,726, 5,482,796, or 5,391,365. Internal cell volume 100 also includes an electrolyte of potassium hydroxide. Suitable electrolytes are well known in the art. Separator material 130, such as rayon or cellulose, is located between the anode material and the cathode material.

Once end cap 10, housing 20, seal 30 are selected, and the housing is filled with the anode material and the cathode material, the cell is closed by inserting cell closure 32 into open end 22 of housing 10 and sealing the cell. Open end 22 sealed to end cap 20 by, for example, radial crimping, as described in U.S. Patent No. 5,150,602, which is incorporated herein by reference.
The electrochemical cell can include a condition tester for the cell, such as a thermochromic tester for the cell, as described in U.S. Patent Nos.
5,612,151 or 5,614,333, each of which is incorporated herein by reference, an electrochemical tester, as described in U.S. Patent No. 5,339,024, which is
incorporated herein by reference, or a coulometric tester, as described in U.S. Patent No. 5,627,472, which is incorporated herein by reference.
The volume efficiencies of the cells are obtained as a result of the combination of numerous reductions in cell volume occupied by non-reactive elements of the cell. The non-reactive elements are primarily structural elements inside the cell, such as the overall cell height, housing outer diameter, cell closure height, can wall thickness, pip thickness (as defined by IEC Publication 86-2, Figure 1A, Dimension F and G), and cathode height. The size of these components can be selected within the constraints of the external volume for a cell size to increase the capacity of the cell. These selections can results in a higher internal cell volume. For example, end cap 10 occupies less space within cell 8 than conventional high compressive end caps for alkaline cells. In addition, seal 30 occupies less internal volume within cell 8. The structure of these two components can increase the overall capacity of the cell. In another example, insulating seal 30 and end cap 10 can contact everywhere, leaving no volume gaps, thereby minimizing closure volume 36. By occupying less space within the cell, internal cell volume 100 is increased within the restraints of external volume 200, thereby increasing the amount of additional anode and cathode active materials that can be included in the cell and increasing cell capacity.
The following examples are representative, and not limitive, of invention.
EXAMPLES 1-5
Table 1 lists some of the dimensions of the cell components used to prepare five different cell sizes. Example 1 is a D size cell, Example 2 is a C size cell, Example 3 is a AA size cell, Example 4 is a AAA size cell, and Example 5 is a AAAA size cell.
TABLE 1



Measured from t e cap to t e s rt ottom.
Tables 1A and IB, respectively, list some of the dimensions of comparative cells complying with the external volume limitation as Examples 1A-5A and Examples 1B-4B.

TABLE 1A





The relations ps etween t e rato o t e sea voume to t e externa volume of each cell (as a percentage) are depicted in FIG.2. FIG.2 is a graph depicting the ratio of seal volume to external volume for each of the cell sizes, expressed as log,0 (external volume). Curve XI depicts the cells of Examples 1-5; curve Al depicts the cells of Examples 1A-5A, and curve Bl depicts the cells of Examples 1B-4B. Least squares analysis the plotted data for Example 1-5 generated curve XI, which had the formula for log,0 (external volume):

100*(seal volume) / (external volume) =
- 0.6489* {log,0(external volume)} + 1.9976,
and a correlation (R2) of 0.9453. When the ratio is not represented as a percent, both sides of the formula is divided by 100.
The relationships between the ratio of the closure volume to the external volume of each cell (as a percentage) are depicted in FIG. 3. FIG. 3 is a graph depicting the ratio of seal volume to external volume for each of the cell sizes, expressed as log,0(external volume). Curve X2 depicts the cells of Examples 1-5; curve A2 depicts the cells of Examples 1A-5A, and curve B2 depicts the cells of Examples 1B-4B. Least squares analysis the plotted data for Example 1-5 generated curve X2, which had the formula for log,0 (external volume):

100*(closure volume)/(external volume) =
- 11.312*{log,0(external volume)}3 + 38.603* {log,0(external volume)}2

- 39.283* {log,0(external volume)} + 17.571,

and a correlation (R2) of 0.9925.
Furthermore, the relationships between the ratio of the internal cell volume to the external volume of each cell (as a percentage) are depicted in FIG. 4. FIG. 4 is a graph depicting the ratio of internal cell volume to external volume for each of the cell sizes, expressed as log10(external volume). Curve X3 depicts the cells of Examples 1-5; curve A3 depicts the cells of Examples 1A-5A, and curve B3 depicts the cells of Examples 1B-4B. Least squares analysis the plotted data for Example 1-5 generated curve X3, which had the formula for log,0(external volume):

100*(internal volume)/(external volume) = 16.53* {log, 0(external volume)}3 - 55.00* { log, 0(external volume)}2 + 55.18*{log,0(external volume)} + 58.23,

and a correlation (R2) of 1.0.
Examples 6-11
A set of cells was prepared selecting cell closures and insulating seals having smaller volumes than in Examples 1-5. For example, the AA size cell seals were thinned from a volume of 0.432 cubic centimeters to a volume of 0.120 cubic centimeters. In Examples 6 and 7, the larger volume seals had the structure described in U.S. Patent No. 5,080,985 and U.S. Patent No. 5,750,283. In Examples 8-11, the smaller volume seals had the structure describe in U.S. Ser. No. 09/047,264, filed March 24, 1998. In general, the seal volume was reduced by lining the seal up against the end cap, as depicted in FIG. 1 , so that the cap can support and replace thick structural areas of previous seal designs. The seal depicted in FIG. 1 represents the general design of the family of seals used in Examples 8-11.
The cans of Examples 6 and 7 were 0.010 inches thick. The cans of Examples 8-11 were 0.008 inches thick. In the AA cells (Examples 8 and 10), the cans were 0.203 mm thick. In the AAA cells (Examples 9 and 11), the cans were 0.150 mm thick. The shape of the can was the same in Examples 6-11.
The dimensions of the cans in Examples 10 and 11 were maximized to the upper boundary of the IEC specifications. In Example 10, the cell size envelope was described by a height of 10.5 millimeters and a length of 44.5 millimeters, within manufacturing tolerances. In Example 11, the cell size envelope was described by a height of 14.5 millimeters and a length of 50.5 millimeters, within manufacturing tolerances.
The corresponding volume ratios for the cells of Examples 6-11 are listed in Table 2.

TABLE 2



Examples 6-11 have improved internal volumes, and corresponding capacity increases, as indicated in the higher ratio of internal volume to external volume for the cell size. Example 6 includes 3.76 A-h of zinc. The capacity of the Examples 8 and 10 scale linearly with the increase in internal volume compared to the capacity of Example 6. Example 7 includes 1.80 A-h of zinc. The capacity of the Examples 9 and 11 scale linearly with the increase in internal volume compared to the capacity of Example 7.