New flexible Li-ion (Lithium-ion) battery has been developed by scientists from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in the US. Scientists claim that this battery can not only operate under extreme conditions including cutting, submersion and simulated ballistic impact but also does not catch fire. According to them, current Li-ion batteries are prone to catastrophic fire and explosion incidents because they are built with flammable and combustible materials. In the research published in the journal Chemical Communications, scientists also emphasised on the need for reducing the flammability of devices, hinting at Samsung Galaxy Note 7 exploding battery fiasco where multiple devices caught fire, resulting in airlines around the world imposing restrictions on the device.
With these batteries emerging as the energy storage vehicle of choice for portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid storage, these safety advancements mark a significant step forward in transforming the way Li-ion batteries are manufactured and used in electronic devices, the researchers said. The team described a new class of "water-in-salt" and "water-in-bisalt" electrolytes referred to as WiS and WiBS, respectively. These electrolytes, when incorporated in a polymer matrix, reduce water activity and elevate the battery's energy capabilities and life cycle while ridding it of the flammable, toxic, and highly reactive solvents present in current Li-ion batteries. It's a safe, powerful alternative, the researchers said.
"Li-ion batteries are already a constant presence in our daily lives, from our phones to our cars, and continuing to improve their safety is paramount to further advancing energy storage technology," said Konstantinos Gerasopoulos, a senior research scientist and principal investigator at APL. "Li-ion battery form factors have not changed much since their commercialisation in the early 1990s; we still use the same cylindrical or prismatic cell types. The liquid electrolyte and required hermetic packaging have a lot to do with that," Gerasopoulos said.
In addition, the damage tolerance initially demonstrated with the team's flexible battery in 2017 is further improved in this new approach to creating Li-ion batteries. "Our team's efforts have generally been focused on replacing the flammable liquid with a polymer that improves safety and form factor. We are excited about where we are today," he said. "The first generation of flexible batteries were not as dimensionally stable as those we are making today," Gerasopoulos said.
This is highly important in ensuring the safety of your smartphone’s battery and of course, yourself. Always refrain from using a faulty or unofficial charger to charge your phone. All chargers support different voltage and amperage levels. Using a wrong charger might result in overloading your phone’s charging circuit, which could be really dangerous.
Smartphone companies usually advise users not to keep their phones covered by bedding or other thick materials such as pillows when on charging. It could cause excessive buildup of the heat, making your phone’s battery more prone to damage.
Some users take immense pride in calling themselves a rough user when it comes to handling phones. Dropping your phone frequently may result in a break in the battery separator, which is positioned between the anode and cathode. This could result in a thermal runaway rising your battery’s temperature to dangerous levels, leading to an explosion.
(With PTI inputs)