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ERE Seminar: Ralph White, PhD, University of South Carolina — Mathematical Modeling of Batteries

Date and Time: 
November 12, 2018 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Room 104, Green Earth Sciences Building, 367 Panama Street, Stanford
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Event Sponsor: 
Energy Resources Engineering

Mathematical Modeling of Batteries

Ralph E. White, PhD
Professor, Chemical Engineering, Westinghouse Distinguished Scientist | University of South Carolina

Mathematical modeling of batteries on the continuum scale will be reviewed in this presentation by way of several examples taken from my career. The purpose of such modeling is to develop a model that can be used to make predictions of the performance of the battery and its lifetime based on anticipated operation of the battery. Usually, we seek a model that is as simple as possible, but does not “throw the baby out with the bath water.” In addition, we seek a model that does not require significant computation time since it is necessary to validate the model based on experimental data. It has been and still is a challenge to develop a model of a battery of interest in a timely manner so that it can be useful in industry. Fortunately, the software package named COMSOL Multiphysics is available to help us in the development of models of batteries, and this software includes a significant library of such models. Some examples of industrially useful mathematical models of batteries will be presented.  

Ralph E. White is a professor of chemical engineering and a distinguished scientist at the University of South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BS in chemical engineering in 1971. He then attended the University of California at Berkeley and completed his PhD in 1977 under the direction of Professor John Newman.

White began his teaching career at Texas A&M University in 1977. In 1993 he moved to the University of South Carolina, where he served as the chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering for seven years and then as the dean of the College of Engineering and Computing for five years. In 1995 he founded the Center for Electrochemical Engineering.

White has published 340 peer-reviewed journal articles and has graduated 50 PhD and 39 MS students. Seven of his students work for Apple and several of his students are professors. He is a fellow of The Electrochemical Society (ECS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. White has received several international awards including the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society Scientific Achievement Award (2000) for mathematical modeling of the electrodeposition of alloys, the ECS Olin Palladium Award (2013) for contributions to the science of electrochemistry, and the ECS Vittorio de Nora Award (2016) for contributions to the field of electrochemical engineering and technology, and the Henry B. Linford Award for distinguished teaching (2018). He has served as a consultant to several major companies including General Motors, Energizer and General Electric.