Technology‎ > ‎

Non-Flammable Lithium-Ion Batteries Developed By Scientists

posted 7 Mar 2014, 03:47 by Mpelembe   [ updated 7 Mar 2014, 03:48 ]

USA (Next Media) -  US scientists have discovered a material that can substitute the flammable components in lithium ion batteries, offering a safer alternative to the commonly used, yet potentially dangerous batteries such as those that grounded the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

According to Knovel, scientists at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have found a material, known as perfluoropolyether [PFPE], to replace the flammable component in lithium ion batteries.

The gadget spec URL could not be found
The material has been used as an unguent for gears in heavy duty industrial equipment and was recently studied as a potential solution to the problem of aquatic creatures adhering to the bottom of sea-faring vessels.

The substance that can replace the electrolyte in lithium ion batteries is called perfluoropolyether. It can dissolve lithium salt and exhibits thermal stability beyond 200°C .

Lithium is also a highly reactive substance containing sodium and potassium. Like all batteries, lithium-ion ones consist of two electrodes separated by an electrolyte, a solution of lithium salts and organic solvents.

Most of these solvents are highly flammable. When a small fault in the extremely thin separators that keep the battery elements apart appears, it can lead to an internal short-circuit and a subsequent build-up of heat. This can trigger the battery to overheat and on some occasions burst into flames.

Lithium-ion batteries are highly flammable. In 2013, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was grounded due to electrical fires during flights caused by its lithium-ion battery packs.

SOURCES: Knovel, The Economist, Howstuffworks, PNAS, Extreme Tech, Tree Hugger