Smart lithium-ion battery that warns you before overheating or other hazardous problems
Lithium-ion batteries have changed the way we go on about our daily routine interacting with gadgets and commuting from one place to the other. They have in a way opened up new avenues for developing battery powered gizmos that power the 21st century. But Lithium-ion batteries carry their risks as well. There have been many instances when lithium-ion batteries have exploded without warning creating a threat to lives and property. People around the world have reported exploding phone, in flame laptops and car batteries catching fire unexpectedly. Addressing this problem very seriously, a team headed by Yi Cui, associate professor of material science at the Stanford University have developed a smart lithium-ion battery separator that warns the user before overheating or bursting into flames.
Yi Cui has developed a smart separator made from copper sensor that sits between this layer and detects any signs of impurities seeping in through the membrane which has been found to be the main cause of short circuit in batteries.
The lithium-ion battery has carbon anode and lithium metal-oxide cathode which are packed electrodes and have an ultra-thin polymer that separates them. Yi has developed a smart separator made from copper sensor that sits between this layer and detects any signs of impurities seeping in through the membrane which has been found to be the main cause of short circuit in batteries. Along with that the copper layer measures the voltage difference between anode and separator, a tell-tale sign of battery misbehaving without warning.
The early warning system of this smart battery is going to save lives and property according to Yi, as it detects problem during normal operation of the battery. Although the chances of a battery going up in flames is just one in a million, but considering the fact that millions of computers, phones and other electronic gizmos are sold each year, the probability rises even more.
Yi Cui exclaimed by saying that:
The bigger the battery pack, the more important this becomes. Some electric cars today are equipped with thousands of lithium-ion battery cells. If one battery explodes, the whole pack can potentially explode.
According to Hui Wu,
The copper coating on the polymer separator is only 50 nanometers thick, about 500 times thinner than the separator itself. The coated separator is quite flexible and porous, like a conventional polymer separator, so it has negligible effect on the flow of lithium ions between the cathode and the anode. Adding this thin conducting layer doesn’t change the battery’s performance, but it can make a huge difference as far as safety.