Lithium-ion batteries are used in everything, from your phone to handheld gaming devices. They are the basis for most portable powered devices but by design, they are typically quite old. While they’ve received their upgrades over time, lithium ion batteries have the same flaw a lot of technology has these days, overheating. Ever wondered why a phone or a hoverboard exploded? Fear not, Stanford researchers have come up with a new lithium-ion battery with heat controls!
The new design allows the lithium-ion battery to shut down when it gets too hot, then when it’s cool enough it will automatically restart. Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford state that not only can the device turn itself on and off repeatedly but it does so “without compromising performance”.
Typical a lithium-ion battery contains two core elements, two electrodes and a form of gel or liquid that carries charge between the two electrodes. People have tried to solve this problem before by adding a flame retardant to the gel used in some. When punctured or overcharged, a lithium-ion battery tends to rise in temperature and at around 150 degrees celsius they catch fire, eventually exploding.
The new battery, however, uses a tiny bit of nano-technology, by coating an electrode with a poly ethylene film with tiny nickel particles with spikes extruding from the plastic surface. When the battery heats up, the film expands meaning the spikes are pushed away from each other and the electric charge can’t be carried through the nickel elements. When it cools they retract and the charge can start to flow again.
3D Printing has come a long way, from objects to food and now even human skin and meat. One of the major problems when attempting to print human meat was printing out the vascular network, meaning all the blood vessels and ventricles. However, it appears that even the latter problem has been recently solved by scientists from the University of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT.
The scientists have apparently solved the problem by creating a skeleton of vessels, which was then used as a basis to grow human cells around it. Once the process was complete and stable, the scientists dissolved the 3D printed material, leaving only the vascular network.
“Imagine being able to walk into a hospital and have a full organ printed – or bio-printed, as we call it – with all the cells, proteins and blood vessels in the right place, simply by pushing the ‘print’ button in your computer screen,” said Dr. Luiz Bertassoni of the University of Sydney. “While recreating little parts of tissues in the lab is something that we have already been able to do, the possibility of printing three-dimensional tissues with functional blood capillaries in the blink of an eye is a game changer.”
Building vascular networks is a big thing, but using them is even greater than imagined. It appears that the vessels are then used to transport nutrients through bioprinted tissue in order to achieve better cell differentiation and growth. Summing it all up, scientists are now able to create ‘organs’ in the lab, having the scientists believe that this will eventually lead to true organ regeneration.