Feeds

Boffins hose down fiery Li-ion batteries with industrial lubricant

Non-flammable electrolyte found hiding in plain sight

Security for virtualized datacentres

As Boeing and Tesla both know, if you mistreat a lithium-ion battery, it can start a fire – which puts a premium on the search for non-flammable components. Now, US researchers say they've found a candidate electrolyte in an unexpected place.

When they're overcharged or overheated, the electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries can burn. However, it's hard to find a non-flammable electrolyte that doesn't degrade battery performance.

As the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill explains, the chemical, perfluoropolyether, is already known to the world as a coating to stop marine life sticking to the bottom of ships.

They're proposing using perfluoropolyether (or PFPE) as a replacement electrolyte because it's both non-flammable and has good ion transport properties, the university says.

Also familiar as an industrial lubricant, PFPE came to the attention of a UNC chemist, Joseph DeSimone, who noticed that it has a “chemical structure to a polymeric electrolyte commonly studied for lithium-ion batteries” (from their abstract in PNAS, that electrolyte is alkyl carbonate). When his group also found that lithium salts could be dissolved in PFPE, and it remained non-flammable, “that's when we decided to roll with it”.

The PFPE electrolytes up to 200°C, the researchers say, have good electrolytic properties when coupled with the right electrodes (LBNL's Nitash Balsara worked on electrodes for this paper), and have a good cycling lifetime. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.