Zheng Chen
Robots & Machines

New Battery From Stanford Can Turn Itself On and Off

June JavelosaJanuary 13th 2016
A Better Way to get Power

Researchers from Stanford University have unveiled their latest battery technology—a lithium-ion battery that can automatically turn itself on and off depending on its temperature.

This battery is ultimately the first of its kind, and it could help to reduce the number of incidents that are typically associated with battery use today, such as fires and even explosions. More practically, it can help to prolong the life of the battery.

These findings were recently published in Nature.

“People have tried different strategies to solve the problem of accidental fires in lithium-ion batteries,” said Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. “We’ve designed the first battery that can be shut down and revived over repeated heating and cooling cycles without compromising performance.”

You can learn more about the new tech in the video below:

Working With Nanotechnology

When discussing the research behind the work, the team asserts that it all came down to determining how to regulate temperature: “We attached the polyethylene film to one of the battery electrodes so that an electric current could flow through it,” said Zheng Chen, lead author of the study. “To conduct electricity, the spiky particles have to physically touch one another. But during thermal expansion, polyethylene stretches. That causes the particles to spread apart, making the film nonconductive so that electricity can no longer flow through the battery.”

This allows them to tune the temperature higher or lower in instances where you want the battery to shut down at a particular temperature.

Compared to other studies, this approach offers a more reliable way of achieving the battery’s maximum performance while also improving on its safety.

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