College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Mechanical engineering’s Todd Kingston and Cary Pint receive NASA EPSCoR grant for battery research and infrastructure development

Mechanical engineering assistant professor, Todd Kingston, and associate professor, Cary Pint, have received the Research Award from NASA with total support nearing $1,000,000 through the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and the Iowa NASA ESPCoR to investigate the fundamental processes in lithium-ion batteries during extreme thermal conditions, such as freeze-thaw cycles often encountered by spacecraft during lunar and Martian exploration.

The NASA EPSCoR program partners with government, higher education and industry to effect lasting improvements in a state or region’s research infrastructure, research and development (R&D) capacity and its national R&D competitiveness.

“We are honored to receive support from NASA to conduct this research and partner with our collaborators at NASA Glenn Research Center and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory,” says Kingston. “In this project, we want to identify a quantitative link between the electrochemical and thermomechanical effects of Li-ion batteries, which could significantly improve future NASA missions.”

This project also aims to establish a state-of-the-art shared battery fabrication and testing facility which will be utilized to identify the underlying mechanisms of battery degradation and failure during thermal cycles. Pint notes, “Having the infrastructure for battery fabrication and testing here at Iowa State University would greatly enhance interdisciplinary collaboration in the battery field not only on campus, but throughout the Iowa NASA EPSCoR jurisdiction.”