Sat, 23 Nov 2019

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Researchers developed an incombustible lithium-ion battery that could have saved Samsung billions of dollars during its exploding Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

- Science news -

The flexible design uses a safer polymer, rather than flammable toxins, eliminating the possibility of combustion.

The new innovation is said to combat the issue that plagued Samsung's Note 7, as some of the handsets spontaneously combusted as a result of a battery malfunction, The Daily Mail reported.

On August 2, 2016, Samsung took the stage in New York to unveil its 5.7 inch handset, a place where the firm also saw an opportunity to take a stab at Apple.

"Want to know what else it comes with?" teased Samsung's vice-president of marketing, Justin Denison.

"An audio jack. I'm just saying."

Within a few days of the launch, it appeared Samsung was eating their own words after reports surfaced that the Note 7 was bursting into flames - and this is what researchers from Johns Hopkins hopes to tackle with their new battery.

In research published recently in the journal Chemical Communications, the team, led by Konstantinos Gerasopoulos of APL's Research and Exploratory Development Department, details its latest discovery: a new class of 'water-in-salt' and 'water-in-bisalt' electrolytes-referred to as WiS and WiBS, respectively-that, when incorporated in a polymer matrix, reduced water activity and elevated the battery's energy capabilities and life cycle.

The new design ultimately eliminated the batter from any flammable, toxic, and highly reactive solvents that are used in current Li-ion batteries -- making it a "safe, powerful alternative", according to the researchers.

"Li-ion batteries are already a constant presence in our daily lives, from our phones to our cars, and continuing to improve their safety is paramount to further advancing energy storage technology," said Gerasopoulos, senior research scientist and principal investigator at APL.

"Li-ion battery form factors have not changed much since their commercialization in the early 1990s; we still use the same cylindrical or prismatic cell types. The liquid electrolyte and required hermetic packaging have a lot to do with that.

"Our team's efforts have generally been focused on replacing the flammable liquid with a polymer that improves safety and form factor. We are excited about where we are today. Our recent paper shows improved usability and performance of water-based flexible polymer Li-ion batteries that can be built and operated in open air."

Additionally, the damage tolerance initially demonstrated with the team's flexible battery in 2017 is further improved in this new approach to creating Li-ion batteries.

"The first generation of flexible batteries were not as dimensionally stable as those we are making today," Gerasopoulos said.

With this latest benchmark reached, the researchers continue to work on further advancements of this technology.

"Our team is continuously improving the safety and performance of flexible Li-ion batteries," said Jeff Maranchi, the program area manager for materials science at APL.

"We have already achieved further discoveries building upon this most-recently reported work that we are very excited about.

"We hope to transition this new research to prototyping within the year."

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