The quest to build a better mouse trap at Stanford has ventured into explosive territory. Or, more specifically, into lithium-ion battery explosion prevention territory.
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Researchers at the university announced development of the first lithium-ion battery that shuts down when it reaches higher temperatures and restarts immediately once the battery has cooled. The key, according to researchers, is implementing polyethylene film.
After attaching a film to one of the battery electrodes in order to allow electric current flow, Zheng Chen, lead author of the study, said, "To conduct electricity, the spiky particles have to physically touch one another. But during thermal expansion, polyethylene stretches. That causes the particles to spread apart, making the film nonconductive so that electricity can no longer flow through the battery."
Although they have impacted laptops, recliners and navigation systems, battery explosions most recently garnered negative attention for playing Grinch to the holiday season’s hottest item, the so-called hoverboard.