Gel-coated battery could stop mobile phones catching fire or exploding

A cheap and easily manufactured material can act as a thermal conductor at low temperatures and an insulator at high temperatures, which may help prevent dramatic battery fires and explosions

Technology 7 July 2022

Lithium-ion batteries

Traditional lithium-ion batteries can overheatLithium-ion batteries used in smartphones and other devices are susceptible to catching fire and even exploding if they begin to overheat, but a material inspired by the hydrogels found in nappies and contact lenses could reduce the risk.

The batteries used in many modern technologies each contain one or more lithium-ion cells, which can collectively generate a large amount of power. But the batteries are relatively fragile, and if one or more cells become damaged they can trigger a chain reaction that releases a battery’s power dramatically and dangerously in a process called “thermal runaway”. There …

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