MM Blog: Lithium-Ion Battery Breakthrough

Research has created a lithium-ion battery that won't overheat and catch fire.

Lithium-ion batteries' long-lasting energy helps power many of our modern gadgets, from smartphones to electric cars. But they're also susceptible to overheating and even catching fire. They're responsible for thousands of electronics recalls, grounded Boeing jets in 2013 and are blamed for a string of recent hoverboard fires. Current battery systems often use flame retardants to curb fire risk, but once overheated, they no longer work.

Researchers at Stanford University could have a better solution.

They successfully coated a battery electrode with a thin film that expands when it gets too hot, preventing the continued conducting of electricity. As a result, the battery shuts down when temperatures exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit, then automatically restarts once temperatures dip.


Could this technology alleviate safety concerns and potentially significant recall costs? Or do scientists need to find a way to control temperature without compromising battery power?

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