Battery could prevent gadget, hoverboard fires

Posted at 7:59 AM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 08:18:00-05

Finally, some good news for hoverboards.

Since their rise in popularity, hoverboards have gotten a bad rap with a number of reports of the devices catching fire or exploding. 

Stanford University researchers say certain lithium ion batteries are usually the culprit behind fires and sometimes even explosions in devices.

But now, engineers have figured out a possible solution. 

Stanford University researchers have developed what they say is the first lithium-ion battery that shuts down before overeating—and then restarts after the temp cools down.

Researchers note this new type of battery could prevent fires in a wide range of devices from GPS systems to computers and hoverboards.

The key to their solution is a thin film embedded with spiky nickel nanoparticles that prevents the traditional lithium ion battery from overheating.

The thin film is attached to one of the battery’s electrodes—forcing the electric current to flow through it.

What's neat: the spikes need to touch each other to conduct electricity, but when the battery gets too hot, the film expands—making it non-conductive.

When the temp drops back down, and those particles are brought back together, the battery starts to generate electricity again, according to researchers.

"Compared with previous approaches, our design provides a reliable, fast, reversible strategy that can achieve both high battery performance and improved safety," Stanford engineer Yi Cui said in a press release. "This strategy holds great promise for practical battery applications."

More information here.