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Review Article

Fluid Mechanics of Liquid Metal Batteries

[+] Author and Article Information
Douglas Kelley

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627
d.h.kelley@rochester.edu

Tom Weier

Institute of Fluid Dynamics, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden - Rossendorf, Bautzner Landstr. 400, 01328 Dresden, Germany
t.weier@hzdr.de

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038699 History: Received September 14, 2017; Revised November 27, 2017

Abstract

The design and performance of liquid metal batteries, a new technology for grid-scale energy storage, depend on fluid mechanics because the battery electrodes and electrolytes are entirely liquid. Here we review prior and current research on the fluid mechanics of liquid metal batteries, pointing out opportunities for future studies. Because the technology in its present form is just a few years old, only a small number of publications have so far considered liquid metal batteries specifically. We hope to encourage collaboration and conversation by referencing as many of those publications as possible here. Much can also be learned by linking to extensive prior literature considering phenomena observed or expected in liquid metal batteries, including thermal convection, magnetoconvection, Marangoni flow, interface instabilities, the Tayler instability, and electro-vortex flow. We focus on phenomena, materials, length scales, and current densities relevant to the liquid metal battery designs currently being commercialized. We try to point out breakthroughs that could lead to design improvements or make new mechanisms important.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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