The Plastic Battery that Doesn’t Explode

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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 Booting Up the Search for Better Batteries

Science Friday, February 17, 2017

Lithium-ion batteries power everything from our laptops to phones to electric vehicles, but they’re far from perfect. In fact, they were the culprits behind Samsung’s recent exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones.

“The word ‘bomb’ is not out of place here,” says David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance and the host of NOVA’s documentary “The Search for the Super Battery.”

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American Engineer Invents a Better that Cannot Explode

Android Headlines,  February 10, 2017

Mike Zimmerman, a mechanical engineering professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts invented a battery that seemingly cannot explode. Zimmerman managed to achieve this impressive feat by creating a battery which utilizes a certain plastic polymer that is fire retardant instead of a liquid electrolyte and a separator used by conventional lithium-ion batteries. This decision led to the creation of a battery that’s not only significantly safer but also cheaper to manufacture than regular batteries.

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New Battery Tech Keeps Ticking After Being Damaged, Could Prevent Future Accidents

iPhone Hacks, February 9, 2017

The battery in smartphones and tablets is one of, if not the most, important parts of the whole package.

But movement to make the battery in our most-used devices better has been somewhere around a snail’s pace, with only a few options worth nothing over the years. All of which have yet to actually turn into anything for the consumer. That doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made behind-the-scenes, though.

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New Battery Technology Being Developed Doesn’t Combust When Punctured, Could Prevent Smartphone Explosions

9to5Mac, February 9, 2017

In a new NOVA documentary episode that recently aired on PBS, David Pogue hosts and checks out a next generation battery invented by Mike Zimmerman that won’t explode like the Samsung Note 7 (or create a thermal event) even when cut or punctured. The Search for the Super Battery episode is an hour-long look at “the hidden world of energy storage and how it holds the keys to a greener future.”

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The Search for the Super Battery

Featured in NOVA NEXT, February 1, 2017

We live in an age when technological innovation seems to be limitlessly soaring. But for all the satisfying speed with which our gadgets have improved, many of them share a frustrating weakness: the batteries. Though they have improved in last century, batteries remain finicky, bulky, expensive, toxic, and maddeningly short-lived. The quest is on for a “super battery,” and the stakes in this hunt are much higher than the phone in your pocket. With climate change looming, electric cars and renewable energy sources like wind and solar power could hold keys to a greener future…if we can engineer the perfect battery. Join host David Pogue as he explores the hidden world of energy storage, from the power—and danger—of the lithium-ion batteries we use today, to the bold innovations that could one day charge our world.

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Researchers Create New, High Capacity Battery Technology Without Lithium-Ion’s Explosive Risks

Forbes, January 31, 2017

Whether they’re in our smartphones, laptops, electric cars, or any number of other rechargeable electronic devices, the overwhelming majority of us rely on lithium-ion batteries in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, as companies like Samsung and HP are all too aware, there can be dangerous side-effects to lithium-ion batteries if there are any manufacturing anomalies or damage done to the batteries that affects their structural integrity.

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