Scientists have announced that the addition of nanowires to lithium-ion batteries could enhance their fire-resistant capabilities, something that has become especially after the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 exploding fiasco in 2016.
As reported in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the researchers have been looking into ways to develop safer batteries for mobile devices.
They found that solid-state electrolytes are potential alternatives to the traditional electrodes in lithium-ion batteries, which move back and forth between electrodes through an electrolyte
"Traditional lithium ion batteries have a liquid electrolyte made of salts and organic solvents, but it evaporates easily and can be a fire hazard," the scientists explained.
Therefore, the researchers proposed several options for solid-state electrolytes. However, most of which weren't stable or couldn't meet large-scale demands. For example, they said that while polymer electrolytes showed potential because they are stable, inexpensive and flexible; they have poor conductivity and mechanical properties.
So, the scientists have been adding an array of compounds to enhance the electrolyte.
One of the research's leads, Xinyong Tao, previously made magnesium borate nanowires, which was said to have good mechanical properties and conductivity. So the team looked into whether these properties would also be imparted to batteries when these nanowires were added to a solid-state polymer electrolyte.
They found that if they mixed the solid-state electrolyte with 5, 10, 15 and 20 per cent weight of the Mg2B2O5 nanowires, the nanowires increased the conductivity of the electrolytes and it allowed them to sustain more stress compared to the electrolyte without nanowires. This increase in conductivity was due to an increase in the number of ions moving through the electrolyte at a faster rate, the team said.
The group of researchers also tested the flammability of the electrolyte and found that it barely burned.
"When the nanowire-enhanced electrolyte was paired with a cathode and anode like it would be in a battery, the set-up had a better rate performance and higher cyclic capacity than batteries without added nanowires," they concluded.
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