Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone was on fire last year… literally. Following a massive recall of the smartphone, next week Samsung is expected to reveal the results of it investigation into what caused some phones to catch fire spontaneously. According to Reuters, the problem is battery-related, which is a totally vague, but unsurprising conclusion.
Lithium-Ion problems can get very hot while in use, and in some cases they can even catch fire.
But researchers at Stanford may have found a new solution: batteries with their own fire extinguishers.
The researchers have published an article in ScienceAdvances titled “Electrospun core-shell microfiber separator with thermal-triggered flame-retardant properties for lithium-ion batteries.”
In other words, if the battery gets too hot, a protective layer with flame retardant properties would melt and pout out fires almost as soon as they could start.
The material used is triphenyl phosphate, or TPP. While this isn’t the first time someone has tried to use it to keep batteries from combusting, using TPP inside a battery can take a toll on the performance of a battery. The new method puts TPP into a protective shell that keeps it separate from the battery until temperatures are high enough to melt the shell.
Of course, this system would help keep an exploding phone from causing serious damage… once. But a better solution might be to find ways to keep battery temperatures from rising to dangerous levels in the first place.