A new lithium-ion battery shuts down before overheating and then restarts once it cools down, preventing fires that have plagued electronic devices. The new battery technology, developed by Stanford University Professor Zhenan Bao and her colleagues, could prevent the kind of fires that have prompted recalls and bans on a wide range of battery-powered devices
When lithium-ion batteries overheat, they can burn through internal pockets, burst into flames, and even explode. One reason such damage can occur is the formation of dendrites—finger-like deposits of lithium that can grow long enough to pierce the barrier between a lithium-ion battery’s halves and cause it to short out.
Dendrites form when a battery electrode degrades and metal ions deposit onto the electrode’s surface. …
In their latest work, Stanford researchers used chemicals designed to prevent dendrite formation.
Researchers at MIT and Samsung, and in California and Maryland, have developed a new approach to one of the three basic components of batteries, the electrolyte. The new findings are based on the idea that a solid electrolyte, rather than the liquid used in today’s most common rechargeables, could greatly improve both device lifetime and safety — while providing a significant boost in the amount of power stored in a given space.
Typically a liquid organic solvent whose function is to transport charged particles from one of a battery’s two electrodes to the other during charging and discharging — has been responsible for the overheating and fires that, for example, resulted in a temporary grounding of all of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets …
““All of the fires you’ve seen, with Boeing, Tesla, and others, they are all electrolyte fires. The lithium itself is not flammable in the state it’s in in these batteries. [With a solid electrolyte] there’s no safety problem — you could throw it against the wall, drive a nail through it — there’s nothing there to burn.”
A battery can catch fire due to an internal short circuit. When a short circuit occurs, it causes overheating of the cells within a battery, which can ultimately lead to a condition known as “thermal runaway”, which doesn’t typically confine itself to just one cell. Increasing pressure and temperature within a cell can cause it to explode and vent its contents. This can lead to neighboring cells going into thermal runaway as well.
Lithium fires are unique in that they are not typically extinguished in the same manner as ordinary combustible fires. Depending on the type of battery, non-traditional extinguishing agents, such as halotron or copper powder, may be needed. A lithium metal fire is treated differently from a lithium-ion fire in that each requires different firefighting agents.
See more information at via How Lithium Batteries Become a Workplace Hazard – Lion Technology.
This presentation was written by Paul W Robinson, Australia, and presented to the IEEE Symposium on Product Compliance Engineering (ISPCE) in Chicago in May 2015. It covers the identification of risks to children associated with the use of button or coin batteries or cells, the prevalence and severity of harm to children worldwide, and what can be done to mitigate the severity and frequency of injuries. An author’s copy of the PDF version of the submitted presentation is available at the link.
The lithium-ion battery may overheat. If the battery overheats, this poses a potential fire and burn hazard to consumers.
The batteries being recalled were sold for Lenovo ‘ThinkPad’ branded notebooks from October 2010 to April 2011. They were:
- a) included in Lenovo products,
- b) distributed as stand-alone replacement packs, or
- c) distributed as a stand-alone option.
The notebook models affected are: T510, W510, X100E, X201, X201s, Edge 11, Edge 13, Mini 10
To determine whether your battery is affected please visit: www.lenovo.com/batteryprogram2014
What are the defects?
The lithium-ion battery may overheat.
What are the hazards?
If the battery packs overheat, they pose the risk of fire and burn hazard to consumers.