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Fast-charging batteries are a concern

There have been several fire-related concerns and cases involving lithium-ion batteries in both laptops and electric-hybrid vehicles. Until recently, the cause of li-ion battery fires and overheating was only speculated, but Cambridge University researchers have found that a growth inside the batteries, called dendrites, are the perpetrators behind this heated mess. 

Dendrites are the growth of metal fibers within the lithium-ion batteries. They grow on carbon anodes due to batteries being charged at a fast rate. As they grow, the fibers can cause short circuits which leads to overheating, fires and in some cases, even explosions

"These dead lithium fibers have been a significant impediment to the commercialization of new generations of higher capacity batteries," said Professor Clare Grey of Cambridge University's chemistry department.

Now that researchers have targeted the fibers as a problem and figured out how they grow, the next step is determining why dendrites form, which, according to Cambridge researchers, could lead to new technologies that could both fix the growth problem and find a way for lithium-ion batteries to still obtain a quicker charge. 

Researchers are now using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, which is a method of identifying elements in molecules, to observe how the dendrites develop. With this sort of development, lithium-ion batteries could be reformed for the next generation of electric cars.

"Fire safety must be solved before we can get to the next generation of lithium-ion batteries and before we can safely use these batteries in a wider range of transport applications," said Grey. "Now that we can monitor dendrite formation inside batteries, we can identify when they are formed and under what conditions."

Fixing the dendrite growth problem could lead to an increase in lithium-ion battery costs, but could also lead to safer driving conditions in electric cars, which is a general concern for new buyers.

"Our new method should allow researchers to identify which conditions lead to dendrite formation and to rapidly screen potential fixes to prevent the problem," said Grey.

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By GeorgeH on 5/21/2010 2:27:44 PM , Rating: 1
I'm very curious as to the thought process that made someone conclude that a neuron had anything whatsoever to do with lithium fibers in batteries.

What's next, a picture of a blender in a CPU article?

RE: Ummm....
By greylica on 5/21/2010 2:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
No, but some articles talking about CPUs used with Blender 3D rendering systems are obvious...

RE: Ummm....
By Keeir on 5/21/2010 3:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
Hrm, GeorgeH, are you being purposefully dense?

Whether in material science or neurology, "Dendrite" is more a description of shape than anything else. Maybe a supercooled crystaline metal Dendrite would have been a better picture... but overall, the idea is to go a notion of the shape and orientation of the lithium fibers to the cathode....

RE: Ummm....
By GeorgeH on 5/21/2010 8:42:38 PM , Rating: 1
No, are you?

How appropriate would a picture of a Cuisinart FP-14DC be an article about AMD's Llano architecture? According to your logic it would be just fine because they both are described using the word "processor".

RE: Ummm....
By drewidgho5t on 5/22/2010 12:09:34 AM , Rating: 2
So at least we know you come by it naturally. No need to put forth any effort.

The title of the picture?? D E N D R I T E. As KEEIR simply stated, the 3 dimensional shape of a dendrite whether organic or inorganic is quite similar.

Argue as much as you would like but at this point pretty much anyone who reads your question, and reads Keeir's response will comprehend 2 things.

You ARE a moron, and you don't know when to shut up. Everyone one planet earth does ask a dumbass question on occasion. That is usually when friends jump in with sarcasm and jests. That is also usually when the person who asked the question blushes and ADMITS their follie.

Again -- the title of the picture is D E N D R I T E. As Keeir noted, the intent is to provide an image of a dendrite.
If you think a cuisinart looks like a cpu then not much help for ya.

But at least we are aware that it is not purposefull it is natural.

If you like we can ask the readers to take a poll and see how many like you did not get the connection vs how many IMMEDIATELY made the connection that - oh look LITHIUM DENDRITES are miniscule 3 dimensional fractal pattern growths strikingly SIMILAR in appearance to the dendrites within our own brains.

Might I suggest you ask your doctor for a lithium prescription. Maybe you'll get lucky and some will sprout.

RE: Ummm....
By sleepeeg3 on 5/22/2010 2:59:28 AM , Rating: 3
As nasty as he phrased it, I agree. I thought the picture was for an ad or something. They may call it a dendrite, but it is not going to have axons or be structured the same way as a neuron, so the picture is misleading. Lithium atoms form a crystalline structure and whatever a dendrite forms in between them is bound to look significantly different from that picture.

RE: Ummm....
Thank you!
By arazok on 5/21/2010 1:49:27 PM , Rating: 5
I just decided to buy my mother in-law a Hybrid!

RE: Thank you!
By Smartless on 5/21/2010 2:21:17 PM , Rating: 5
Make sure to buy her the quick-charger and extra long extension cord for her convenience.

RE: Thank you!
By drewidgho5t on 5/22/2010 12:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
I would like to applaud you for your humour. Cause what you just posted is some funny shyte

Not Again
By Starcub on 5/21/2010 1:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
This is what happens when the consumer does his own aftermarket upgrades without any input from the manufacturer. I keep telling people that hamsters make a poor substitute for an ICE in a hybrid drive system, but nobody listens...

By chagrinnin on 5/21/2010 1:26:14 PM , Rating: 2
My new car explodes!? :p

By kilkennycat on 5/21/2010 4:58:33 PM , Rating: 2
Dendrite growth has been a classic problem in 'dry-cell' batteries with thin-separators for many years. Nothing new at all here. The only new element here is the energy-density of the lithium cells, the explosive self-flammability of lithium when exposed to the atmosphere and the high charging currents required for rapid-recharge electric vehicles. A prime cause of long-term loss of capacity in both Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries is dendrite growth from the "plates" through the separator causing high internal leakage, and the classic way of clearing such growths to revive a small Ni-CD or Ni-MH battery temporarily (until the dendrites re-grow) is passing a very high 'charging' current (say 5-10amps through a cordless-phone battery) for only A COUPLE of seconds to vaporise the dendrites (NO MORE, unless you want an explosion. Disclaimer: I take no personal responsibilty for any such experiments )

Unfortunately, the very high charging currents to speedily re-charge an auto lithium-cell battery cannot distinguish between charging the battery and vaporizing any dendrites present. In the case of vaporizing dendrites in a lithium-cell battery there is sure a far greater possibility of an unwanted fire/explosion than in either a Ni-Cd or Ni-MH battery.

The above article implies that research into the prevention of dendrite growth has not gone hand-in-hand with the evolution of high-energy-density battery technology. Such an implication astonishes me, considering how long the dendrite-growth issue in thin-separator batteries has been a problem...

By linda16880 on 5/25/2010 10:25:37 AM , Rating: 2
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