Mike Zimmerman, a Tufts University professor, has invented a battery that won’t explode and set your car on fire when you cut or puncture it. He showed off his invention in a new NOVA documentary, which was recently aired on PBS.
Unlike conventional lithium-ion batteries found in our smartphones, the battery developed by Mike Zimmerman is a lot safer. It will not catch fire when damaged and will continue to work even if you cut it in half. Don’t believe me? Check out the video below, where you’ll see that when the battery is damaged it is still able to power the device it’s hooked up to.
Mike was able to make the battery safer by replacing the flammable liquid electrolyte and the separator found in lithium-ion batteries with a special plastic polymer that is flame retardant. It is very safe to use and even costs less to make than current batteries that are on the market. This is important, as most exciting new technologies we hear about are hampered by expensive production costs.
The new invention has a lot of potential, but Mike does have quite a few challenges ahead of him before he will be able to get it on the market. He said that two of the biggest hurdles to overcome are reliability testing and figuring out how a battery like this will scale. Mike also mentioned that the best course of action would be to partner up with a large company that is committed to evolving the battery and could also provide financing.
The university professor isn’t the only one trying to develop new battery technology. We have already reported that researchers at Stanford University created a lithium-ion battery that has a built-in “fire extinguisher” as well as that scientists from the University of Central Florida (UCF) are working on a new battery technology which would allow you to charge your smartphone in only a few seconds.