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Graphene vs. Lithium-Ion Batteries

June 3, 2020

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Batteries have become an essential, and often forgotten, tool we need to conduct our everyday lives. Compact and reliable, batteries power everything from home smoke detectors to smartphones to electric vehicles.  They produce energy in a compact and reliable way and we’ve all come to appreciate as convenient and safe. Yet, standard lithium-ion batteries are really not so safe. 

Inside lithium-ion batters is a thin and porous slip of polypropylene that keeps the electrodes from touching. If that separator is breached, the electrodes come in contact and get ‘explosively’ hot very quickly.  In graphene batteries, one of the electrodes is replaced with a hybrid composite material which includes graphene. If the electrodes come in contact there is no explosion. 

The concern regarding the dangers of lithium batteries is so great that the FAA has banned them as cargo on passenger planes. Carriers from the U.S. Postal Service to Federal Express do not want to put their employees in danger with the transport of such batteries.  Electric cars pose a similar threat, with some manufacturers facing class-action lawsuits due to explosions from their batteries. There are thousands of lithium batteries making up the electric vehicle’s battery pack. If all of these batteries ignite at the same time – something which has happened – the explosion is massive.  

To learn more, check out this video: