Lithium-ion batteries, which are found in smartphones and many other gadgets, aren’t the safest things in the world. Under certain circumstances, they can catch fire and explode, as clearly demonstrated by Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7.
Researchers at Stanford University are trying to solve this problem and make batteries safer. They have recently created an interesting lithium-ion battery that has a built-in “fire extinguisher” for safety reasons. The researchers have added a chemical compound called triphenyl phosphate to the plastic fibers that keep the positive and negative electrodes separate. Once the battery reaches a temperature of 150 degrees Celsius, the plastic fibers melt and release the chemical that stops the battery from burning up. The researchers have put the technique to the test and said that it can extinguish flames within just 0.4 seconds.
The idea is not really new, as others have tried to solve the problem with a similar approach in the past. What makes it different from the previous attempts is that, according to the project’s lead scientist Yi Cui, the approach used by the team at Stanford University will not affect the battery’s performance.
We have been hearing a lot about different battery technologies developed by researchers around the world lately. Like most of them, there’s no guarantee that researchers from Stanford University will eventually launch their product on the market. But nevertheless, it’s still nice to see that people are working hard on different ideas that will, hopefully, make batteries a lot safer in the future.