This custom made lithium-ion battery is one of a number of objects related to the design and development of the submersible vehicle, Deepsea Challenger, that was used by James Cameron in his historic descent to the bottom of the Marianas Trench in March 2012.
Lithium-ion batteries are valued for being rechargeable, portable, having an energy density with a slow loss of charge and no memory effect. They exist in several forms, but the type that Allum assembled for the Challenger is called a prismatic cell, characterised by its semi-hard plastic outer case, threaded cabling, and its use in vehicles. Prismatic cells usually require an external means of containment to reduce expansion when they're fully charged and in use. All lithium-ion batteries require a positive electrode (made of metal oxide), a negative electrode (made of carbon) and an electrolyte (made of lithium salt and an organic solvent). These characteristics aided in the design of the compensating bladder system to reduce the negative effects of extreme pressure and the Life Support Sphere and allowed the original design concept of the Deepsea Challenger to be realised.
The four businesses involved in the design and development of the Deepsea Challenger were, the Acheron Project Pty Ltd. led by Ron Allum, McConaghy Boats, Finite Elements, and Design + Technology . This innovative design and its processes have been awarded Australian Design Award of the Year from Good Design Australia in the Australian International Design Awards 2012.
The Deepsea Challenger has set new world records for transporting a single pilot to underwater depths of more than 11kms and withstanding pressures of up to 16,500 psi. It was built primarily in Sydney, Australia by a small team assembled by Ron Allum in collaboration with Hollywood Director James Cameron. The 3D-footage of its record-breaking inaugural dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in March 2012 was shot with the purpose of transforming it into a feature length documentary in collaboration with National Geographic .
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