A new electrolyte mixture may prevent EV batteries from catching fire

Lithium-ion battery fires will not be all that widespread, however they’re a priority — simply ask electrical automobile makers and Samsung. Fortunately, analysis at Stanford would possibly scale back the possibilities of these units lighting up. Scientists have developed an electrolyte (the substance that carries lithium ions between electrodes) that will not catch fireplace even at temperatures of 140F or extra. The trick, it seems, was additional salt.

The crew added as a lot of a specific lithium salt (LiFSI) as potential to a polymer-based electrolyte, bumping the combination from lower than half of the electrolyte’s weight to 63 %. That salt served as an “anchor” for flammable solvent molecules, stopping them from catching fireplace. The mix lets a lithium-ion battery proceed performing at temperatures as excessive as 212F.

Not like different makes an attempt at non-flammable electrolytes, the polymer-based design is gooey and may match into current lithium-ion battery elements. That lowers the prices and lets firms use their present manufacturing processes. You could possibly see the know-how attain real-world merchandise faster than rivals that may require customized (and doubtlessly costly) manufacturing strategies.

There is not any point out of near-term makes an attempt to commercialize the salty battery tech, which was funded by the Vitality Division. Nevertheless, the researchers already see a number of advantages for electrical automobiles. The design couldn’t solely decrease the chance of EVs catching fireplace, however improve their vary. Automakers incessantly have to house lithium-ion battery cells to forestall them from heating one another. This development would let firms safely pack extra batteries right into a given space, permitting both increased capacities or extra spacious interiors.

This might additionally show helpful for telephones, laptops and different cell units the place house and security are priorities. You would possibly eke out extra runtime on a cost, or fear much less a couple of fireplace in your pocket. This discovery would not stop fires ensuing from injury, however it may show reassuring in on a regular basis use.

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