Feeds

Boffins hose down fiery Li-ion batteries with industrial lubricant

Non-flammable electrolyte found hiding in plain sight

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.