UCLA Extension

Lithium-Ion Battery Technology

Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) cell technology has long been recognized as having a significant weight and volume advantage over other rechargeable battery cell technologies. The higher gravimetric and volumetric density of Li-Ion cells has enabled this technology to proliferate the consumer electronics, automotive, and aerospace industries worldwide. While specialized aerospace applications have already benefited from leveraging Li-Ion battery advances led by the growing commercial portable electronics and electric vehicle industries, Li-Ion cell technology is still emerging as a reliable, safe, and cost effective energy source.

The aim of this course is to provide a foundation for understanding the general principles and fundamentals of Li-Ion battery technology design and operation. The course begins with a basic overview of the fundamental and applied aspects of electrochemical cell and battery engineering. The effects of Li-Ion cell electrical, thermal, and mechanical design features on performance characteristics will be discussed in terms of selection for battery design. Battery sizing analysis, modeling and simulation techniques, cell topology options, test strategies, and charge management protocols for optimal performance will be presented. A comprehensive review of Li-Ion battery failure modes and identification of safety and hazard controls for reliable battery operation will be provided. Procedures and processes for safe handling, transportation, and storage of Li-Ion batteries will be discussed to enable user compliance to industry standards and regulations. Finally, practical examples from various Li-Ion battery applications as well as opportunities to optimize Li-Ion battery based electrical power subsystems will be discussed.

Course is designed to benefit industry scientists, engineers, and other professionals who have a need to develop the necessary technical depth and breadth to effectively design, develop, and operate optimized Li-Ion battery based electrical power systems.


  • Identify key Li-Ion cell design features which impact an optimized battery design,
  • Describe how to size and analyze a Li-Ion battery for a given application, and
  • Explain how to safely design, operate, store, transport, and handle Li-Ion cells and batteries.

Course Materials
The text, Linden’s Handbook of Batteries, 4th ed., Thomas B. Reddy, editor (McGraw Hill, 2011) and lecture notes are distributed on the first day of the course. Course notes are for participants only and are not for sale.

Coordinator and Lecturer

Thomas P. Barrera, PhD, is currently Technical Fellow for The Boeing Co., Boeing Satellite Development Center, Spacecraft Systems Engr. Integration Group (El Segundo, CA). Over his 18 yr. career at Boeing, Tom has managed multidisciplinary teams leading design, manufacturing, test and deployment of advanced electrical power systems for a wide variety of commercial and government space platforms.  Currently, Tom is a co-lead for the AIAA Battery Safety Standards subcommittee, invited industry member of the NASA Engineering Safety Center, and member of the newly formed NTSB/UL sponsored Battery Safety Council.  Tom has held faculty appointments at USC, Univ. of Houston, and Calif. State Polytechnic Univ.–Pomona where he taught various courses in electrical power systems and applied electrochemical engineering.  Previously, Tom was a power systems engr at the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX) and a member of technical staff at The Aerospace Corporation (El Segundo, CA).  After receiving his PhD in Chemical Engr from UCLA, Tom served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Materials Science and Engr Dept. also at UCLA. Tom is also an active member of AIAA and The Electrochemical Society.

Robert M. Spotnitz, PhD, President, Battery Design LLC. Dr. Spotnitz has over 30 years of industrial experience and worked at W. R. Grace & Co. and Hoechst as a Senior Staff Engineer, before founding Battery Design LLC in 1999. In 2009 he partnered with CD-adapco to support computer-aided engineering tools for battery design and simulation. He consults with several companies and has led workshops on batteries for a number of organizations including ECS, SAE, IEEE, AABC, Battery Power, and Materials Research Company.

During his career, Dr. Spotnitz worked extensively on various electrochemical processes and products. Notably he is a co-inventor of the multi-layer battery separators widely used in lithium-ion batteries, and co-developer of the industry standard Battery Design Studio® software. He holds 25 patents mostly dealing with batteries and authored or co-authored 42 Publications (including 4 book chapters).

Daniel H. Doughty, PhD, has spent 22 years of his 37 year career in battery R&D, testing and evaluation. During his 27 years at Sandia National Labs, he managed the battery R&D group that had the responsibility for battery safety and abuse tolerance testing. Dr. Doughty was responsible for bringing the Abuse Testing Facility at SNL from relative obscurity to national prominence. He wrote the Battery Abuse Test Standard that was accepted by US Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) for safety evaluation of hybrid vehicle batteries. He was the Chair of Society of Automotive Engineers J2464 Committee that rewrote and improved the SAE Test Procedure J2464 “Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) Safety and Abuse Testing”, published in Nov. 2009.

After leaving Sandia in Dec. 2006, he spent the next two years as Vice President for Product Safety at SION Power Corp. He was responsible for all safety and performance testing. Dr. Doughty is founder and President of Battery Safety Consulting Inc., a company dedicated to providing expert and independent consulting services for a wide range of battery safety issues. He has over 90 publications, 5 patents, was the co-editor of 4 technical proceedings volumes on energy storage and conversion, and has written several book chapters.

Daily Schedule

  • General introduction and overview; course objectives and expectations; intro to electrochemical cell engineering; Li-Ion cell performance fundamentals; trade studies; cell selection; sizing and topologies, cell and battery testing. (Barrera)
  • Battery requirements and design considerations; overview of Li-Ion batteries: markets, products, principles of operation including cell design example; production processes; cell components: active materials, separators, electrolytes, additives, packaging; modeling and simulation; battery charge management; pack/module design. (Spotnitz)
  • General introduction to Li-Ion cell and battery safety; failure modes; hazards control; storage/transportation/handling; reliability analysis; Li-Ion battery applications (examples from in-service applications); standards and regulations update; industry lessons learned. (Doughty)

For more information contact the Short Course Program Office:
shortcourses@uclaextension.edu | (310) 825-3344 | fax (310) 206-2815