Super-safe battery invention: No more battery fires!

Schematic image depicting the principles of operation of non-flammable gel electrolytes. Credit: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.

Batteries are like tiny powerhouses for our devices. But sometimes, they can get really hot and, in rare cases, even catch fire.

This is especially concerning for big batteries like the ones in electric cars. Imagine parking your electric car in an underground lot, only to find out later it caused a fire!

Thankfully, a brilliant team of scientists has found a solution to make these batteries much safer.

Who’s behind this discovery?

This awesome breakthrough comes from a team led by Professor Hyun-Kon Song from UNIST, Dr. Seo-Hyun Jung from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), and Dr. Tae-Hee Kim from the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER).

Their findings have been shared in a famous science magazine, ACS Energy Letters.

Why is this New Battery Special?

Most batteries have something inside called an electrolyte. In the past, some of these electrolytes could catch fire if the battery got damaged or overheated.

Scientists tried to make them safer by adding special flame-resistant stuff, but this often made the battery not work as well.

This research team, however, came up with a fantastic idea. They added just a tiny bit of a special kind of polymer (think of it like a unique plastic) to create a semi-solid electrolyte. This small change made the battery work even better!

The new design allowed the battery to conduct more power and last longer. Plus, it stopped the chances of the battery catching fire.

They even tested their new battery design with a “nail penetration test.” This is when they purposely damage the battery to see if it catches fire. Their new design passed the test with flying colors, proving it’s super safe.

How does it work?

The new battery has a unique ability. It can stop chain reactions that could lead to fires. Jihong Jeong from UNIST explained it this way: the special material they added interacts with other stuff inside the battery to stop any dangerous reactions. This makes the battery much safer.

Mideum Kim, a bright student who was part of the research, did more tests. They made sure the new design would work in real-world batteries, not just small lab samples. And guess what? It worked great!

Why This Matters to Us?

Think about the number of gadgets and machines we use daily that run on batteries. Now, with this new discovery, we can be more assured that these devices are safe from unexpected battery fires.

Professor Song highlighted how their team’s mixed skills helped make this happen. They had experts in battery science, special materials, and battery safety.

He believes that their new super-safe battery design can be easily used in the making of everyday batteries. This means safer batteries might be in our hands (or cars!) sooner than we think!

Key Takeaways

A super team of scientists has made a big leap in battery safety. Their new design stops batteries from catching fire without sacrificing performance.

So, in the near future, whether it’s our phones, laptops, or cars, we can feel a lot safer about the batteries powering our world!

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Source: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.