Researchers come up with integrated fireproofing for smartphone batteries
While lithium-ion battery technology hasn't been privileged to considerable technological leaps, work on making them better and safer is still ongoing. Stanford University researchers have developed experimental li-ion batteries with built-in "fire extinguishers" – layers of flame-retardant triphenyl phosphate that separate the positive and negative electrodes and have the ability to extinguish flames in a split second. This compound has been experimented with in the past, but it posed the danger of short-circuiting batteries in case of overcharging or sustained use at low charge. At Stanford, researchers solved the problem by housing the triphenyl in a protective plastic fibre, designed to release the chemical only when a critical 150 degrees Celsius (302 F) temperature is reached in the battery.
Alas, there are some barriers to getting the technology out there – it will involve a new and more expensive battery manufacturing process. Further testing of the plastic shell under conditions of day-to-day use will have to be carried as well, as potential leaks of the compound inside the battery could ruin it on the spot.