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What Is Science Doing About These Exploding Phone Batteries?

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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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Writer/Producer:
Kirk Zamieroski

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

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

SOURCES

Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery – http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2017/EE/C6EE02888H#!divAbstract

Making batteries fire resistant with solid electrolytes – http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i45/Making-batteries-fire-resistant-solid.html

Infographic on battery fires by our comrade CC – http://www.compoundchem.com/2016/11/14/li-batteries-cen/ http://www.compoundchem.com/2016/11/14/li-batteries-cen/http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i45/Periodic-graphics-Li-ion-batteries.html

Advances in Lithium Ion Batteries – https://books.google.com.hk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=LxwRBwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA2&dq=chemistry+of+lithium+ion+batteries&ots=iPd7K7okvp&sig=DIPOeUbgwPSBFI6N9GAkBWdpH3E&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=chemistry%20of%20lithium%20ion%20batteries&f=false

Why Do Batteries Explode – https://www.geek.com/geek-pick/why-batteries-explode-1538916/

Thermal runaway caused fire and explosion of lithium ion battery – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775312003989

NOTE: dimethyl carbonate is not the only type of electrolyte used – see the “Advances in Lithium Ion Batteries” above.
Dimethyl Carbonate Electrolytes- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1388248102004071

Dimethyl Carbonate flashpoint –
http://jes.ecsdl.org/content/162/2/A3084.full

How Batteries Work – http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/vss/docs/power/2-how-do-batteries-work.html

How batteries work – http://www.richannel.org/how-do-batteries-work

Reduction potentials (Li is the best cathode)
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Tables/electpot.html

Understanding lithium ion batteries – http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/archive/understanding_lithium_ion
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/lithium_based_batteries

Safety of electrolytes in batteries – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=P.+Ribière%2C+S.+Grugeon%2C+M.+Morcrette%2C+S.+Boyanov%2C+S.+Laruelle+and+G.+Marlair

Understanding Thermal Runaway – http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2013/ra/c3ra45748f

John Goodenough is on it! – http://fortune.com/2017/03/05/lithium-ion-battery-goodenough/

FAA Banned – https://www.faa.gov/airports/airport_safety/certalerts/media/part-139-cert-alert-16-08-samsung-galaxy-note-7-ban.pdf

NTSB cargo alert
https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/PR20160209.aspx

Examples of lithium ion catastrophes –
Laptops –https://www.geek.com/chips/dell-mini-9-battery-melts-burns-floor-1030631/

Cellphone – http://www.techradar.com/news/samsung-galaxy-note-7-battery-fires-heres-why-they-exploded

Airplanes banned them – http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31709198

Sansung Galaxy factory fire – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/02/09/samsung-factory-made-note-7-batteries-catches-fire/

Cell – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2359281/Exploding-Samsung-Galaxy-phone-leaves-teenager-degree-burns-smelling-like-burnt-pig.html

Samsung Note 7 to be refurbished – http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2017/03/27/samsung-sell-refurbished-galaxy-note-7s-outside-us/99695040/

Why Li-ion batteries keep exploding (WIRED) – http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2017/03/27/samsung-sell-refurbished-galaxy-note-7s-outside-us/99695040/

How batteries work (MIT Ask) – http://engineering.mit.edu/ask/how-does-battery-work

How electrolytes influence battery safety (2012) – https://www.electrochem.org/dl/interface/sum/sum12/sum12_p045_049.pdf

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