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Material intelligence for battery development

Ansys Granta helps electric aviation take off

H55 develops powerful batteries for electric aviation and meets the thermal challenge through material selection with Ansys Granta

From Solar Impulse to electric commercial aviation

As a spin-off of Solar Impulse, H55's mission is to bring the technologies developed for the solar aircraft project to commercial aviation. H55 develops certified electric propulsion and battery management solutions for environmentally friendly aviation. The company focuses on the entire propulsion chain, from power source management to electric motors, integrating all control and communication interfaces to the pilot.

Its first product is intended for aircraft used for pilot training that will be seen in flying clubs beginning in 2022.

Developing powerful batteries and meeting the thermal challenge

For its electric drive units, H55 has developed its own modular, high energy density battery system. To ensure good thermal control of the battery pack, its temperature must be as uniform as possible. This means allowing heat transfer from one battery pack to another. However, a few parts per million (PPM) of batteries may have a manufacturing defect. If one of them were to go into thermal runaway, the heat propagation could create a chain reaction throughout the entire battery pack. To avoid this, heat transfer from one battery to another must be prevented. These last two points are in contradiction. On the one hand, a good heat transfer between the batteries is necessary and on the other hand, the batteries should be thermally isolated from each other.

How has Ansys Granta Selector helped H55?

Searching for datasheets from specific suppliers is time-consuming, and the data can sometimes be incomplete, whereas Granta Selector is a very extensive database offering a very user-friendly way to search for materials. With a few clicks it is possible to access the properties of all materials, sort them, and classify them, whether they are commodity or high-tech materials. Everything is there. Access to this database is a considerable time saver, both in the brainstorming phase and in the development phase.

In addition, CADFEM introduced the Startup Ansys programme. This programme supports innovative companies wishing to use Ansys simulation tools from the start, while preserving their cash flow.

This is the approach taken

  • Filter 1: eliminating all materials with a density above a certain value.
  • Filter 2: eliminating all materials that do not meet certain flammability criteria.
  • Filter 3: retention of all materials with a thermal conductivity above a certain value.

Potential "candidate" materials:

  • Aluminium foam
  • SiC foam
  • Aluminium Honeycomb
  • Graphite
  • CFRP
  • Carbon fibre reinforced PEEK prepreg

Materials tested:

  • Aluminium foam



The most promising solution, aluminium foam, could not be chosen because of its cost and the difficulty of shaping it. However, having been able to explore all materials quickly and efficiently with Ansys Granta Selector, we had a clear definition of the scope of existing and potential solutions at this stage of the project.

Sébastien Demont, Co-Founder and CTO of H55 comments on this challenge: “So, we were faced with a problem where we had to find a material, which can both fit between the batteries and be a heat conductor, but not too much. The power of the Granta Selector database was a great help in this!”

"Finally, Ansys Granta allowed us to move on to the next stage of design with confidence. Without it, we would have drowned in an endless search for a solution," he says.

H55 S.A.
Route Chandoline 25E
1950 Sion

Author: Sébastien Demont
CTO and cofounder H55
Images: © H55

Contact CADFEM

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