Just recently we reported the story of the school girl whose iPhone 5C set alight whilst in her back pocket. There have been other instances too relating to the batteries within smartphones causing fires. Although these cases are rare and often exaggerated it is important that something is done to stop it from happening at all.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina have developed a non-flammable lithium-ion battery. Led by chemist Jospeh DeSimone, they were able to replace the organic solvent and lithium salts that make up the electrolyte, the flammable part of a lithium-ion battery. It was replaced with the fluoride polymer Perfluoropolyether (PFPE), which reduces the risk of flammability to almost zero.
PFPE is a material being researched by DeSimone for the Office of Naval Research, to see if it can be used to stop marine life from sticking to ships’ hulls.
As well as making the battery less flammable, the team are also looking at extending the conductivity and improving how batteries are recycled. They hope that with more research they can develop the battery to endure extreme cold temperatures, making useful for oceanic and areonautical exploration.
Until this battery is completed we will have to make do with the standard lithium-ion ones and maybe stop keeping our phones in our back pocket!
[Image via digitaltrends]