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LEDE: Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries power things like our cell phones, laptops, and cars. But, as you’ve probably heard, sometimes they can literally explode.
Randy Atkins: The risk of explosion might grow with next generation lithium metal batteries…which the University of Michigan’s Kevin Wood says could pack enough charge to drive your car halfway across the country.
Kevin Wood: We have to really understand what the problem is so that we can design the solutions that need to be developed to enable this type of technology to become a reality.
Randy Atkins: So Wood figured out a way see what’s going on inside.
Kevin Wood: We essentially put a window into the battery so that we were able to look into it while we were charging and discharging.
Randy Atkins: He saw tree-like structures growing from the electrodes. If they got to the other side of the battery, a short circuit could spark a fire. Wood says watching how this happens may reveal ways to stop it. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.