Recent advances in acoustic diagnostics for electrochemical power systems

Jude Majasan, James B Robinson, Rhodri E Owen, Maximilian Maier, Anand N P Radhakrishnan, Martin Pham, Thomas G Tranter, Yeshui Zhang, Paul Shearing, Dan Brett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Over the last decade, acoustic methods, including acoustic emission (AE) and ultrasonic testing (UT), have been increasingly deployed for process diagnostics and health monitoring of electrochemical power devices, including batteries, fuel cells, and water electrolysers. These techniques are non-invasive, highly sensitive, and low-cost, providing a high level of spatial and temporal resolution and practicality. Their application in electrochemical devices is based on identifying changes in acoustic signals emitted from or propagated through materials as a result of physical, structural, and electrochemical changes within the material. These changes in acoustic signals are then correlated to critical processes and the health status of these devices. This review summarises progress in the use of acoustic methods for the process and health monitoring of major electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices. First, the fundamental principles of AE and UT are introduced, and then the application of these acoustic techniques to electrochemical power devices are discussed. Conclusions and perspectives on some of the key challenges and potential commercial and academic applications of the devices are highlighted. It is expected that, with further developments, acoustic techniques will form a key part of the suite of diagnostic techniques routinely used to monitor electrochemical devices across various processes, including fabrication, post-mortem examination and recycle decision support to aid the deployment of these devices in increasingly demanding applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number032011
Number of pages29
JournalJPhys Energy
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the EPSRC for supporting the electrochemical research
in the Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EP/R020973/1; EP/R023581/1; EP/N032888/1; EP/R023581/1; EP/P009050/1; EP/M014371/1; EP/M009394; EP/L015749/1; EP/K038656/1) and Innovate UK for funding the VALUABLE project (Grant No. 104182). The authors would also like to acknowledge the Royal Academy of Engineering for funding Robinson and Shearing through ICRF1718\1\34 and CiET1718 respectively and the Faraday Institution (EP/S00353/1, Grant Nos. FIRG003, FIRG014). The authors also acknowledge the STFC for supporting Shearing and Brett (ST/K00171X/1) and ACEA for supporting ongoing research at the EIL. Support from the National Measurement System of the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is also gratefully acknowledged.

Data Availability Statement

No new data were created or analysed in this study.


  • acoustic emission
  • ultrasonic testing
  • lithium-ion battery
  • fuel cell
  • water electrolyser
  • acoustic time-of-flight
  • amplitude


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