Last year was the year of the exploding phone and although the Note 7 fault may have (for the most part) only affected Samsung’s revenue, researchers want to make sure that batteries stop exploding.
Samsung was never really able to pinpoint the exact fault in the Note 7 and made a lot of wrong calls in declaring them safe after an initial recall. Eventually, they had to recall the Samsung Note 7 and their reputation suffered severely for it.
The entire situation might have been helped if this innovation had been available at the time.
Stanford University researchers have created a way to prevent faulty batteries from catching on fire. Their solution is to introduce a failsafe in the form of a miniature fire extinguisher that will be built directly into Lithium-ion batteries.
The Stanford team designed the test for large-scale batteries found in electric cars but the exact same technology can be applied to smaller devices like smartphones in the future.
Lithium-ion batteries were the batteries used in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and they were also used in hoverboards which were also discouraged because of reported explosions. The batteries contain components that are highly flammable.
The team of researchers designed a lithium-ion battery with a cylindrical polymer shell containing flame retardant. When the battery reached 160 degrees Celsius it opened up successfully to prevent an explosion. Their research was published in Science Advances last week.
It is not the first time scientists have entertained the thought of flame retardant additives in batteries. In previous trials, they simply added chemicals directly into the battery components but that ended up affecting the performance.
The Stanford team, however, managed to separate the chemicals from the battery until a fire risk comes up. Unfortunately, the battery tech is not likely to make it into cars or phones anytime soon. The researchers, however, hope that it will one day be used in the products we use.