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10/14/2014

Early warning system to help prevent battery explosions

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    The idea is to develop a lithium-ion battery with an early warning system that will alert the user before bursting into flames.
    Lithium-ion batteries are becoming increasingly common in electronic devices as well as cars and airplanes, but they have the annoying risk of exploding if their electrodes accidentally touch. This accidental contact can happen when the lithium ions gather on the anode and pile up to form chains of lithium metal known as dendrites. When these dendrites penetrate the separator and contact the cathode, the battery can short out and catch on fire.
    To help prevent the unexpected explosion that can result from creeping dendrites, I suggest developing an early-warning system by placing an extremely thin layer of copper between the battery's anode and cathode. The copper will detect if any lithium-ion dendrites have begun growing though the polymer that separates the electrodes, and will cause the phone to lose voltage before the battery explodes.
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