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Boffins double lithium batteries density

by on28 November 2019

And they will not explode

Researchers at Australia's Deakin University say they've managed to use common industrial polymers to create solid electrolytes, opening the door to double-density solid-state lithium batteries that won't explode or catch fire if they overheat.

Fangfang Chen and Xiaoen Wang from Deakin's Institute for Frontier Materials claim to have made a breakthrough with "the first clear and useful example of liquid-free and efficient transportation of lithium-ion in the scientific community".

The new technology uses a solid polymer material, weakly bonded to the lithium-ion, to replace the volatile liquid solvents typically used as electrolytes in current battery cells. The liquid electrolyte is the part of the system that becomes flammable during the kinds of infamous battery fires Samsung and Apple would rather forget.

"If industry implements our findings I see a future where battery reliant devices can be safely packed in aeroplane baggage, for example, or where electric cars don't pose a fire risk for occupants or emergency services like they currently do", Dr Chen said in a press release.

In addition to making batteries safer, the team believes this solid polymer electrolyte will finally allow batteries to work with a lithium metal anode. That would be big news in the battery world, where the lithium anode has been recently described in Trends in Chemistry as "critical to break the energy-density bottleneck of current Li-ion chemistry" -- the bottleneck that's stopping electric vehicles, aircraft and portable electronics from developing at the pace they should be.

While there seem to be announcements of technology to improve batteries each day, this one holds a lot of promise because it is not too difficult to create.

Last modified on 28 November 2019
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