Safer and stronger batteries: A breakthrough with a simple add-on

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In a world where staying connected through gadgets like smartphones and laptops is essential, having reliable and safe rechargeable batteries is a must.

Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are the heroes behind our portable tech, giving us the freedom to roam without wires.

But, as our gadgets evolve, we need even better batteries that won’t just last longer but are also safer.

Scientists have been on the lookout for ways to make lithium-ion batteries safer and more efficient, especially because of the rare yet concerning incidents of battery fires and explosions.

A team of researchers from the Beijing Institute of Technology in China has made an exciting discovery that could lead the way to safer and more durable batteries.

The secret? A special ingredient called triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO).

By adding TPPO to the liquid inside the battery (known as the electrolyte), the team found they could make the battery not only safer but also perform better. This new research was shared in a study published in the journal Energy Materials and Devices.

Here’s how it works: In a lithium-ion battery, lithium ions move back and forth between the two ends (the anode and the cathode) through a liquid called the electrolyte.

This movement generates the power that charges our devices. The electrolyte is key to the battery’s performance, affecting how much power it can store, how fast it can charge and discharge, and how long it lasts.

The researchers discovered that adding TPPO to the battery’s electrolyte does a few amazing things.

First, it makes the battery less likely to catch fire. Second, it forms a protective layer on the cathode, making the battery more durable and efficient. This means the battery can store more energy and last longer between charges.

In practical terms, adding just 2% TPPO to the electrolyte significantly improved the battery’s performance, including its ability to conduct ions, its capacity to store energy, and its stability over time. Plus, the battery became non-flammable, addressing one of the biggest safety concerns.

This breakthrough points to a future where lithium-ion batteries are not only more reliable and longer-lasting but also much safer. It’s a big step forward in battery technology, promising to keep our gadgets running smoothly and safely for longer.