Image credit – Gabriel Veith

There is a lot of work being done with regards to batteries that power our electronics, such as smartphones and laptops. For the most part lithium-ion is the most commonly used battery, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best. There are issues with lithium-ion, such as how it loses its charge over time, and how volatile it is where it has been known to cause explosions.

However thanks to work done by researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Rochester, it seems that they have managed to create a lithium-ion battery that will harden upon impact. What this does is that it would then prevent the electrodes in the batteries from touching, thus reducing the chance of it exploding or catching on fire.

For those unfamiliar with lithium-ion batteries, they feature two electrodes that are typically separated by a thin piece of plastic. The electrodes need to be kept apart because when they come in contact with each other, it could spark a fire. Obviously a thin piece of plastic is not the ideal solution, which is why lithium-ion batteries tend to be handled with more care.

In order to get the batteries to harden, the researchers created a material that was inspired by oobleck (a mixture of cornstarch and water that hardens until you poke at it). They then thought that this concept could be applied to batteries to help make them safer, which based on their tests, it worked. Now the researchers are planning to take it further by trying to make the part of the battery damaged in the drop remain solid, while the rest of the battery continues to work.

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