Boston Globe, May 10, 2017
The world is desperate for safer rechargeable batteries. Just ask executives at South Korea’s Samsung Corp., which lost billions last year after the batteries in its phones began bursting into flames. Half a world away, in Woburn, Mike Zimmerman says he’s found the solution. His company, Ionic Materials, has developed a new lithium-ion battery that won’t burn or explode.
Bloomberg, May 2, 2017
Bill Joy, the Silicon Valley guru and Sun Microsystems Inc. co-founder, sees the future of energy in a battery that can take a bullet.
The venture capitalist formerly with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC is now dedicating most of his time to Ionic Materials Inc., a Woburn, Massachusetts-based startup developing lithium batteries that won’t burst into flames. They’re strong enough to withstand being pierced by nails and even getting shot, as the company demonstrates in a promotional video.
Scientific American, April 18, 2017
“Every technology has improved over the years except batteries! Why can’t someone invent a better battery?” Man, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say that—well, I’d have about $17.50.
In fact, though, the average gadget fan is missing three huge points about batteries. (In February, PBS aired a NOVA special called “Search for the Super Battery,” of which I was the host. After a year of visiting laboratories and interviewing scientists, I can admit that batteries are on my mind these days.)
Engineering.com, April 9, 2017
Solid State Li-ion Batteries
On the subject of non-flammable batteries, Dr. Michael Zimmerman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University, examined the benefits and drawbacks of lithium-ion batteries and decided that a solid polymer electrolyte would be safer than the liquid electrolyte currently used. He developed a solid-state Li-ion battery that can be cut, punctured, and otherwise abused without causing an explosion or even a malfunction. Its plastic electrolyte is flame-resistant. In addition, the material doesn’t allow dendrites to form on the electrodes, which increases the battery’s lifespan and the number of charge cycles.
The Telegraph, March 28, 2017
With the Government suggesting there may be cause in future to extend the laptop ban to include inbound flights from around the world, there are concerns among experts that putting electrical items in the hold is actually dangerous.
Design News, March 22, 2017
You’ve probably seen videos or heard or read about lithium-ion batteries that have exploded or caught fire when overheated. Now a researcher from Tufts University has devised what could be a permanent solution to solve this problem with the invention of a new polymer electrolyte that is neither flammable nor explosive, and paves the way for improvements in next-generation battery design.
Boston Globe, March 16, 2017
Michael Zimmerman is hoping to light a fire under the electronics industry by building rechargeable batteries that won’t burn.
Zimmerman, a professor of mechanical engineering at Tufts University, is founder of Ionic Materials Inc., a Woburn company that’s developing a new kind of battery, suitable for powering laptops, smartphones, or electric cars. The powerful but relatively fragile lithium-ion batteries we presently use contain a flammable liquid that carries electrically-charged ions between the batteries’ electrodes. Zimmerman’s found a way to do the same thing with a solid polymer — a plastic material that can’t leak and won’t burn.
The Springfield native spent 14 years as a researcher at the now-defunct Bell Labs in North Andover, becoming an expert in making and molding polymers. In 2002, he launched Quantum Leap Packaging, which made polymer packages for silicon microchips. He has continued to develop polymer products at his current company, iQLP of Woburn.
Ionic Materials is a side gig, but one with immense potential. Zimmerman says they should deliver twice the capacity of today’s batteries, while being far more stable and rugged. He says that the batteries should be ready for the market in two or three years, and that the world’s leading battery makers are interested in licensing the technology. — HIAWATHA BRAY
The Motley Fool, March 5, 2017
“Ionic Materials enables use of lithium metal anodes, sulfur cathodes, and more. The result is much higher energy density and performance.”
— Ionic Materials
All of a sudden, battery science is cool. Continue Reading
Public Radio International, March 5, 2017
This is a glorious pile of batteries. David Pogue, host of NOVA’s documentary, “The Search for the Super Battery,” says a new wave of battery technology is coming.
Science Friday, February 22, 2017
Lithium-ion batteries have been the culprits behind a string of combusting devices. They’ve caused hoverboard fires, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone explosions, and, most recently, a major recall of HP laptops. What makes these batteries so volatile is a highly flammable liquid called a liquid electrolyte.
“You can think of it as kerosene—like you’re walking around with kerosene in your smartphone, in your purse, and in your pocket,” says Mike Zimmerman, a materials science professor at Tufts University, and founder and CEO of the battery company, Ionic Materials.
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