The unfortunate debacle of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has already made other mobile manufacturing companies extremely cautious towards what’s widely thought to be the cause of the issue – faulty batteries. Companies like LG have already started rigorous processes to ensure that their smartphones carry durable and non-explosive batteries. In a bid to make smartphone batteries better in terms of heat capturing, researchers at Stanford University have manufactured a new kind of battery that contains a fire extinguishing material in case of explosions.
A team of researchers from Stanford University have built a new battery using the same lithium-ion compound but with a capsule of triphenyl phosphate (TPP) within the battery’s electrolyte fluid. The TPP chemical is released from the melting of capsule whenever the battery is overheating at around 150-degrees Celsius. Triphenyl phosphate is a chemical compound known for its fire retarding qualities – and in this case it can cool the battery in just 0.4 seconds. The study is published in a journal on Science Advances.
“During thermal runaway of the lithium-ion battery, the protective polymer shell would melt, triggered by the increased temperature, and the flame retardant would be released, thus effectively suppressing the combustion of the highly flammable electrolytes,” the paper’s abstract reads.
Recently, lithium-ion batteries used in the smartphones have come under scanner. Lithium is known to be the lightest of all the metals, and hence can store a lot of energy into a tiny volume – which makes it perfect for batteries. A Reuters report tells that the market has grown from a few hundred million cells in 2000 to 8 billion last year, according to Albemarle, a US chemical company. But for the same reason, lithium-ion batteries need safety mechanisms built in, adding to production costs.
“A battery is really a bomb that releases its energy in a controlled way,” says Qichao Hu, a former researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of SolidEnergy Systems, a battery startup.
The fiasco of Galaxy Note 7 raised many eyebrows in the mobile tech industry, which also led Samsung to inquire more about the SDI batteries packed in them. Samsung is set to release its report on January 23, but early results claim the batteries are the culprit.
To recall, Samsung initially announced a recall of some 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones in September. The South Korean company in October permanently halted the production and sales of Galaxy Note 7, putting a full stop to its ill-fated flagship device.
A recent report also claims that LG is running additional safety tests ahead of actual launch. The report adds that LG will be adopting a new ‘heat pipe’ cooling technology to conduct heat away from the processor. The next flagship LG G6 smartphone is widely expected to be revealed at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 event next month.