What Is Science Doing About These Exploding Phone Batteries?


Headlines keep on popping up in the news about exploding cellphones, laptops, and hover-boards. Well folks, this happens to be a phenomenon called thermal runaway, and it has a lot to do with those lithium ion batteries that are inside most of our household tech. Today we’re covering the chemistry on why batteries go boom, and we’re going to take a look at the lithium ion battery of the future!

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Kirk Zamieroski

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Scientific consultants:
Danielle Buckley, Ph.D.
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.
Kyle Nackers


Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery –!divAbstract

Making batteries fire resistant with solid electrolytes –

Infographic on battery fires by our comrade CC –

Advances in Lithium Ion Batteries –

Why Do Batteries Explode –

Thermal runaway caused fire and explosion of lithium ion battery –

NOTE: dimethyl carbonate is not the only type of electrolyte used – see the “Advances in Lithium Ion Batteries” above.
Dimethyl Carbonate Electrolytes-

Dimethyl Carbonate flashpoint –

How Batteries Work –

How batteries work –

Reduction potentials (Li is the best cathode)

Understanding lithium ion batteries –

Safety of electrolytes in batteries –ère%2C+S.+Grugeon%2C+M.+Morcrette%2C+S.+Boyanov%2C+S.+Laruelle+and+G.+Marlair

Understanding Thermal Runaway –

John Goodenough is on it! –

FAA Banned –

NTSB cargo alert

Examples of lithium ion catastrophes –
Laptops –

Cellphone –

Airplanes banned them –

Sansung Galaxy factory fire –

Cell –

Samsung Note 7 to be refurbished –

Why Li-ion batteries keep exploding (WIRED) –

How batteries work (MIT Ask) –

How electrolytes influence battery safety (2012) –



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