Lithium-ion batteries have been powering up our gadgets from laptops, cell phones, vapes, hoverboards, and even defibrillators. But gadgets using these lithium-ion batteries have been increased incidence of going up in flames, worst exploding.
According to Qichao Hu, founder of SolidEnergy Systems, a battery-technology startup based in Massachusetts, “A battery is really a bomb.”
Researchers from Stanford University developed a flame retardant that could prevent the gadget from catching fire as soon as it gets toasty. This can also prevent the likelihood of detonation like what we have seen in last year's exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
Kai Liu / SCIENCE ADVANCES 2017
Lithium-ion batteries' rechargeable technology relies on the movement of ions from negative to positive electrode in lithium plates. When the ions move too fast, the built up heat - sometimes how fast the charging or discharging occurs - causes the battery to explode or flame up.
The inventors did not just create a simple fire retardant. They must take into account that the battery can still perform efficiently, and using just any fire retardant can compromise that.
What the inventors created is a tiny sheet of capsule-like plastic with the fire retardant triphenyl phosphate (TPP) kept inside. Once the battery gets too hot, the plastic capsule melts and the fire retardant spills out.
This particular development can help manage dangerous incidents involving lithium-ion batteries, more so, now that the battery technology has moved to even bigger machines like cars.
“Right now there is a huge effort made in the community to improve the safety of Li-ion batteries,” said Jun Liu, a battery fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.
The innovation is published
in Science Advances
See: New Lithium-Oxygen Batteries are Considered as Promising Technology!