Liquid lithium-ion batteries are most commonly used as rechargeable batteries in electronic devices like cellphones and laptops. This battery type has a lot of benefits, like high energy density and stable energy capacity for a lower cost, but they are also extremely flammable. This is the same reason attributed to explosion reports of Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
There May Be A Safer Alternative To Liquid Lithium-Ion Batteries
But scientists may have found a way to replace liquid lithium-ion batteries. In a study published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, researchers from Stanford University, who have been working on finding a less volatile alternative to the flammable liquid electrolytes in these batteries for a long time, have discovered a safe alternative.
Austin Sendek, lead author of the study, said: "Electrolytes shuttle lithium ions back and forth between the battery's positive and negative electrodes. Liquid electrolytes are cheap and conduct ions really well, but they can catch fire if the battery overheats or is short-circuited by puncturing."
Researchers Used AI To Identify Experimental Data
Researchers used artificial intelligence to identify over twenty solid electrolytes. The computer algorithm learned to identify good and bad compounds, which screened promising materials, including stability, cost, abundance and the ability to conduct lithium ions and re-route electrons through the battery's circuit, Business Standard reported.
"We screened more than 12,000 lithium-containing compounds and ended up with 21 promising solid electrolytes," Sendek said. The researchers will eventually test the 21 materials to determine which are best suited for use in the real world.
"Our approach has the potential to address many kinds of materials problems and increase the effectiveness of research investments in these areas," senior author, Evan Reed, said. "As the amount of data in the world increases and as computers improve, our ability to innovate is going to increase exponentially. Whether it's batteries, fuel cells or anything else, it's a really exciting time to be in this field," he concluded.