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Your next smartphone battery will feature an inbuilt fire extinguisher

Researchers have developed a new type of smartphone battery fitted with its own fire extinguisher to solve overheating woes.

The innovative lithium-ion battery cells contain a pouch of flame retardant triphenyl phosphate (TPP) – a material found inside traditional fire extinguishers.

Sat within a shell of electrolyte fluid, the TPP is designed to be released when the protective shell melts if the battery temperature exceeds 150C (302F), such as if the battery has combusted.

The battery breakthrough, designed by a research team at Stanford University, come just months after a global recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was triggered by exploding batteries.

Related: How to get better battery life on your iPhone


Defaults in manufactured batteries can allow them to charge to quickly, often leading to a fire.

Tests of the new tech showed that battery fires were extinguished in a speedy 0.4 seconds.

With both original and replacement devices having been found to catch fire, the Note 7 was hit by a global recall and banned from aircraft as it was deemed too big a fire hazard.

Despite smartphone technology continuing to evolve at a rapid rate, with flexible and even foldable screens next on the horizon, battery tech has remained relatively unchanged for a number of years.

Related: Which phone has the best battery life?

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 11

“There is enormous pressure to improve battery tech,” Ian Fogg, a senior analyst at IHS told the BBC. “It’s one of the areas that’s holding back mobile devices and a range of other products.

“Manufacturers have been balancing out consumer demand for longer-lived batteries, and more powerful devices with better graphics and larger more detailed displays, with the sophistication of battery tech.

“It’s very difficult to push up the capacity of batteries and there is always a risk that a battery in any device could fail.”

With the innovative self-extinguishing batteries having only just been the subject of a peer-reviewed research paper, it’s unlikely they’ll feature in new smartphones for a number of years.

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