Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

General

Can I order directly from EL-CELL, or do I need to contact a distributor?

We generally offer our products and services worldwide, either directly or through one of our distributors.  In any case, you can send your order by e-mail to sales@el-cell.com or use our contact form. We will contact you or forward your request to the respective distributor in your area.

What means of payment do you offer?

We offer payment by credit card, paypal or bank transfer.

How can I report a technical problem with one of your devices?

If you have a technical problem or a question about the use of one of our products, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our experienced electrochemists will be happy to help you with any application questions. In order to help you quickly in case of a defect, just send us a detailed description of your problem, and if possible, pictures of the defective parts. We will get back to you with a solution as soon as possible.  The necessary steps to return a product are listed here.

Products

Can I borrow your products for testing?

Yes, a rental of our products is possible on request, just contact us and we will provide you with further details. In addition, we offer to demonstrate our equipment at your site or in our battery laboratory in Hamburg at any time.

What do the abbreviations PAT, ECC and ECD stand for?

We offer different product series, each of which can be identified by the abbreviation in its name:

PAT stands for PArallel Testing and identifies our innovative, cableless cell concept, which is particularly suitable for high throughput testing due to its easy handling. In addition to cells, the PAT series also includes the corresponding docking stations and potentiostats.

ECC means Electrochemical Cell and is used for our optical cells and other cell designs like the ECC-Ref, which are connected directly to battery testers and potentiostats by cable.

ECD stands for Electrochemical Dilatometers and characterizes all special cells that can measure the expansion of the electrodes in the nanometer range.

Can I connect PAT-Cells respectively the PAT docking stations to any battery tester or potentiostat?

Yes, our PAT series test cells can be operated on any common battery tester or potentiostat using a PAT docking station. Most docking stations are connected via conventional 4 mm banana plugs. The PAT-Stand-16 and PAT-Chamber-16 are offered with fixed open-ended cables. Cell cables with custom connectors to connect these units to a specific battery tester are available on request at extra cost.

Gas analysis test cells

Which cell is right? PAT-Cell-Press or PAT-Cell-Gas?

PAT-Cell-PressPAT-Cell-Gas (P, S, SP)
Cell is dedicated to:The quantitative (cumulative) measurement of the gas evolved / consumed during the electrochemical cycle by measurement of the gas pressureTime resolved analysis of the gas evolved / consumed during the electrochemical cycle in combination with a mass spectrometer and controlled gas supply
Preferred operation mode:Pressurized cell without gas flowFlow-through with gas analysis at outlet and mass flow controller at the inlet
Plug flow: not availableAlmost perfect when using the lower plunger with flow field; significant back-mixing when using the lower plunger with perforated plate
Applicable to:• Aprotic chemistries such as Li-ion, Li-air, super cap
• Some aqueous chemistries may work, but compatibility must be checked by the user
• Aprotic chemistries such as Li-ion, Li-air, super cap
• Some aqueous chemistries may work, but compatibility must be checked by the user
Upper electrode:Any compatible electrode, either self-standing or with metal foil current collector; standard upper plunger or perforated upper plunger Any compatible electrode; often Li metal or LFP are used here as a Li ion source; preferably there is no gas evolution or consumption at this electrode
Lower electrode:Any compatible electrode, either self-standing or with metal foil current collector; standard lower plunger or perforated lower plungerThe lower electrode is seated on a plunger with flow field and must therefore be gas permeable, either self-standing or on current collector mesh. The gas evolution / consumption at the lower electrode is subject of the measurement.

Do you always need a PAT-Press-Box to operate the PAT-Cell-Press?

The PAT-Press-Box is required to read and record the analog pressure signal of a PAT series test cell.

It is required in the following docking stations:

The following devices provide the necessary functions themselves, therefore no PAT-Press-Box is required:

Can the PAT-Cell-Gas be operated with a PAT battery tester?

Yes, this is the easiest way to operate the cell. Simply plug the test cell into a PAT-Channel of the PAT-Tester-x and connect the gas in- and outlet. The PAT-Channel can be placed inside a temperature chamber at 0 to +40°C. For more extreme temperatures, the test cell can be plugged into the PAT-Stand-1 which is connected by a cable to a PAT-Channel outside the temperature chamber. Note that the PAT-Cell-Gas only fits into the PAT-Tester-i-16 when disconnected from gas supply.

Can the PAT-Cell-Gas be operated with a third-party potentiostat?

Yes, plug the test cell into the PAT-Stand-1 and connect the stand to the cell cable of your potentiostat. For reading the pressure signal (only PAT-Cell-Gas variants P and SP), the PAT-Press-Box is required. Insert the PAT-Press-Box between PAT-Stand-1 and potentiostat or battery tester.

Which cell is right? PAT-Cell-Press or PAT-Cell-Gas?

PAT-Cell-PressPAT-Cell-Gas (P, S, SP)
Cell is dedicated to:The quantitative (cumulative) measurement of the gas evolved / consumed during the electrochemical cycle by measurement of the gas pressureTime resolved analysis of the gas evolved / consumed during the electrochemical cycle in combination with a mass spectrometer and controlled gas supply
Preferred operation mode:Pressurized cell without gas flowFlow-through with gas analysis at outlet and mass flow controller at the inlet
Plug flow: not availableAlmost perfect when using the lower plunger with flow field; significant back-mixing when using the lower plunger with perforated plate
Applicable to:• Aprotic chemistries such as Li-ion, Li-air, super cap
• Some aqueous chemistries may work, but compatibility must be checked by the user
• Aprotic chemistries such as Li-ion, Li-air, super cap
• Some aqueous chemistries may work, but compatibility must be checked by the user
Upper electrode:Any compatible electrode, either self-standing or with metal foil current collector; standard upper plunger or perforated upper plunger Any compatible electrode; often Li metal or LFP are used here as a Li ion source; preferably there is no gas evolution or consumption at this electrode
Lower electrode:Any compatible electrode, either self-standing or with metal foil current collector; standard lower plunger or perforated lower plungerThe lower electrode is seated on a plunger with flow field and must therefore be gas permeable, either self-standing or on current collector mesh. The gas evolution / consumption at the lower electrode is subject of the measurement.

Optical test cells

Can I use the provided borosilicate glass window with any lithium battery electrodes?

Borosilicate glass is a good choice for all common cathode materials and also lithium titanate as the working electrode. However, some anode material such as lithium metal and lithiated graphite may react with the glass window forming greyish spots of elemental silicon on the glass surface. We therefore recommend using sapphire (Al2O3) windows with anode materials.

Electrochemical dilatometer

What are the differences between the built-in sensors of the ECD-3 and ECD-3-nano?

The sensors of ECD-3 and ECD-3-nano are both able to detect very small expansions of the electrodes. The main difference between the two devices lies in the detection resolution. The ECD-3 uses an LVDT sensor with a resolution of 50 nanometers with a maximum displacement range of 500 μm. The ECD-3-nano uses a capacitive sensor system with a resolution of 5 nanometers and a maximum displacement range of 250 μm.

How can I clean the T-Frit? How much does a stained T-frit affect future results?

The frit is made of borosilicate 3.3 glass (Duran®) and so can be cleaned with any agents lab glass is compatible with, including e.g. hot aqueous HNO3. According to our experience, the staining of the T-frit does not affect electrochemical results.

Why is it possible to measure displacement values below zero?

The dilatometer does only measure the displacement (=change in thickness), but not the total thickness. The initial displacement reading is arbitrary and can be changed by just turning the micrometer screw at the sensor head. In practice, you turn the micrometer screw so that the initial reading is in the range of zero +/- 20 µm. After the measurement, for convenience, you substract some offset value, so as to set the displacement value exactly to zero at that point in time, where you have started the electrochemical cycle.

Potentiostats

Can the PAT-Tester-i-16 also be used to test other cell formats that do not belong to the PAT series?

The PAT-Tester-i-16 supports other battery test cells and is not just limited to PAT series test cells. These are connected via an adapter, which is plugged into the PAT socket. Currently, both 2- and 3-electrode coin cells can be connected via Coin-to-PAT-Adapter. Adapters for other cell formats like small pouch cells or T-cells cells will be available soon.

Can test cells other than PAT-Cells be connected to the PAT-Tester-x?

The PAT-Tester-x can be used with test cells of the PAT series as well as with other test cells from EL-Cell or other manufacturers. These are connected to the Sub-D connector of the PAT channel via a special cell cable.

Can the PAT-Tester-x be used to cycle test cells directly in the glovebox?

Yes, it is possible to run PAT-Channels directly in the glove box without any problems. We recommend to place the PAT-Controller-8 outside the glove box. We offer a USB-feedthrough to lead the cables into the glovebox and connect the PAT-Channels.

Tools

Can you change the cutting tools of the EL-Cut?

No. The cutter of the EL-Cut must be precisely adjusted at the factory in order to achieve its high-precision cutting results. It is therefore permanently installed in the housing and cannot be changed.

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