Mystery of flammable laptop batteries solved

Mystery of  flammable laptop batteries solved

There have been several high-profile stories in recent years of iPods, laptops and mobile phones spontaneously combusting, sometimes when they’re in the owner’s pocket or handbag, or when left unattended at home.

Now, a team at Cambridge University has claimed that the growth of metal fibres, called dendrites, is the main reason why the lithium batteries in mobiles, laptops and other devices overheat and catch light.

According to the scientists, batteries in laptops and mobile phones are designed to charge quickly, but this can cause dendrites to form on the battery’s carbon anodes — and these fibres are one of the main causes of short circuits that cause batteries to overheat and even catch fire. “These fibres can cause short circuits causing battery to rapidly overheat and catch fire,” lead scientist, Prof Clare Grey, said. “ Our new method should allow researchers to identify which conditions lead to dendrite formation and to screen potential fixes to prevent the problem.”

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