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Stanford Develops Lithium-Ion Battery that Shutdown Automatically When Overheated

January 12
7:17 PM 2016

Researchers in Stanford University have been able to develop lithium-ion battery that automatically shuts down when it begins to overheat. Overheating is the main problem for lithium-ion battery which most often lead to explosion and fire.

As the most popular battery for electronic appliances, lithium-ion has an advantage of its high energy density, small memory effect, with only a slow power decrease when not in use. It has also been used to power electric cars and even new airplane.

However, lithium-ion battery has long defficiencies of thermal runaway as it gets overheat. Thermal runaway is a rapid increase of temperature that leads to explosion and fire. This problem has made a headline of hoverboard explosion cases in the last few of months.

National Geographic News reported that because of the fire incident, hoverboards been banned by some universities and airlines, and lithium-ion battery is the culprit. Companies and the U.S. government have recalled thousands of batteries used in cameras, laptops, tablets, cordless tools, and even winter jackets.

In a larger scale, lithium-ion battery in electric cars and airplane has a big potential for catching fire. In the Tesla Model S catching fire in Norway in the New Year's day, the lithium-ion battery is a suspected source of fire. The car was burning down to a charred husk in a fire.

Lithium-ion was also the problem in Boeing 787 Deamliner airplane. The battery had caused electrical problem that resulting fire broke out in the airplane engine. All Boeing 787 Dreamliners were grounded indefinietly following the incident.

Fortunately, the battery overheating problem may have been solved. CIO.com reported researcher in Stanford University found that polyethylene film can be used to control the battery to shutdown as it reached certain temperature.

In the research, when the temperature rise to 70 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit), conducting spikes that works in charging the battery will stop working. As the spikes stop working, the electric current will be cut off and causing the battery to shut down. Furthermore, we can control at which temperature the battery will shut down.

Zhenan Bao, the leader of research team told The Register, "We can even tune the temperature higher or lower depending on how many particles we put in or what type of polymer materials we choose," said Bao. "For example, we might want the battery to shut down at 50 degrees Celcius or 100 degrees Celcius."

This new invention from Stanford University will surely give a huge benefit to electronics industry. The lithium-ion battery that stops charging when reached certain temperature solve the problem of overheating that often resulted in explosion and fire.

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