Stanford Researchers develop battery with inbuilt fire extinguisher

Technology - Himanshu Gill - Jan 18,2017

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stanford researchers develop battery with inbuilt fire extinguisher

Researchers in USA’s Stanford University have developed a lithium-ion battery consisting of a fire extinguishing material that douses sparks before they turn into flames.

Triphenyl phosphate (TPP) is a fire retardant material that is placed inside a shell within the battery’s electrolyte fluid. The shell melts down when the battery’s temperature reaches 150 degree Celsius (302F), releasing the chemical compound.

A team of nine researchers have worked on this project and released a paper published in the journal named Science Advances. According to the paper, battery fires were extinguished within 0.4 seconds during the test run.

The team initially designed this test for large-scale batteries to be installed in electric cars, but later discovered that the same technology could be applied to smaller devices like smartphone batteries in the future.

Typical lithium-ion batteries contain highly flammable components like a short circuit, that can get heated very quickly and cause a fire. The much controversial Samsung Galaxy Note 7 that was banned last year after complaints of the device catching fire flooded the market, consisted of a lithium-ion battery.

In February 2016, the US National Transportation Safety Board also issued a warning against lithium batteries in aeroplane cargo, calling them as "a fire and explosion ignition source".

Earlier attempts to incorporate chemicals like TPP inside batteries without the shell had considerably hampered their performance.

To prevent this, the research team built TPP inside the battery and separated it from the li-ion cell with an electrospun shell that is made of polyvinylidene fluoride–hexafluoropropylene (PVDF-HFP). This material acts as a barrier between the TPP and the battery cell during everyday use and is also sensitive enough to melt down when the battery cells begin to overheat.

This new technology is expected to take some time to make it into phone batteries, but researchers are optimistic for its productivity and usage.