Bake it, drown it, fire bullets at it - how batteries are tested in the real world

We know that General Motors has the largest battery lab in the world, one that's capable of carrying out all kinds of scientific tests, but that's a little boring, if you ask us. If you want to test a battery's durability, do you really need fancy lab equipment and sophisticated computers? Or can you just use a few household items, a swimming pool, bullets and a lot of time? Maybe it's time to ditch the lab coats, fire up the oven and learn how battery testing is really done.

Here's how real-world testing actually goes. First, researchers study the physics behind the technology by asking, "Is this even possible?" If the answer is yes and prototypes are available, battery research labs proceed to beat them to pieces, literally. Researchers have put batteries in ovens at a sweltering 115 degrees for over a year. They've drowned them in swimming pools in an absolute test of the pack's ability to cope with water. They've purposely short circuited them in hopes of a violent, yet glorious, explosion. Sometimes, they grab the Colt .45 and fire rounds at the battery until it just can't handle any more. It may sound more like a Mythbusters episode than something carried out by highly-trained engineers, but these are all examples of real-world testing. Surprised?

[Source: NYTimes | Image: Pak*r - C.C. License 2.0]

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