A paper published in Advanced Energy Materials describes a novel electrolyte material which could potentially make Lithium Ion batteries a lot safer. Lithium Ion cells are popular because they offer good energy density and low mass but they can also pose a fire hazard if they are maltreated. The
The acidic liquid or gel electrolyte in the battery can leak and produce a fire or chemical burn hazard. Researchers at
The new electrolyte material is both flexible and lightweight and consists of a liquid combined with solid particles of wax or similar material. Current travels through the liquid electrolyte material while the solid particles act as a protective mechanism; if the material gets too hot it melts and stops conduction thereby lessening the fire hazard risk.