You probably have a smartphone or a tablet and if you do, you probably use one or both of them a lot.
You might use them to check the time, send text messages, make or receive calls, send and read emails, post to social media apps, consume the news, listen to music or navigate an unfamiliar area. But have you ever thought about the workout your devices get all day, every day?
Believe it or not, the small battery powering those devices have limitations too.
The lithium ion batteries consist of three different parts: a positive lithium electrode, a carbon negative electrode, and the separation between the two which allows devices to both charge and discharge. If the positive electrode touches the negative electrode, an explosion could result. These explosions, however, are extremely rare.
If you're terrified by the prospect of your smartphone or tablet blowing up in your hand, you can thank a team of Stanford University researchers who found a solution.
Hui Wu, Denys Zhuo, Desheng Kong and Yi Cui discovered that if a thin lining of copper is placed between the two electrodes, the device can detect when the ends are too close and power down the battery.
While researchers were able to find how to prevent small batteries from catching fire, now there's a much bigger task in front of them. The same thing could happen in larger batteries, like the ones found in solar equipment. Solutions to those much bigger problems could still be years away.
(H/T: Slash Gear)
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