While smartphones exploding isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explosions did bring quite a bit of attention to the dangers of using lithium-ion batteries. Granted at the moment lithium-ion seems to be the standard, it still does not reduce the potential dangers of using it to power our electronics.
However the good news is that scientists have recently managed to create a water-based electrolyte that could potentially lead to safer batteries. This was achieved by using a high concentration of salt that will help produce a protective layer on electrodes that you would expect from a conventional electrolyte, thus preserving the electrodes and allowing for it to hold more energy.
Now before you get too excited about the possibility of safer batteries, this is clearly still quite early in development as one of the main problems with these batteries is that the electrolytes don’t last very long. What this means is that the number of charges the battery holds isn’t very much at around 70 cycles worth, meaning that if you were to charge your device from 0 to full on a daily basis, it’ll last you a little more than 2 months. This is versus lithium-ion batteries which can last for hundreds of cycles.
This is also not the first time that researchers are looking into the idea of creating batteries that are longer-lasting and are also safer, but for the most part it seems that lithium-ion batteries will continue to be commonly used for the foreseeable future.