October 28, 2010 21:03 by Ty
Lithium-ion batteries have been known to catch fire and explode in rare cases and have caught the attention of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The FAA has issued carriers a warning that fire suppressants carried on aircraft are ineffective of extinguishing lithium-metal battery fires and are not foolproof in Lithium-ion battery fires.
Lithium-metal batteries are highly flammable and fire ignition can occur if the battery short-circuits, overheats, is overcharged, is mishandled or is defective. In a rare event that the lithium batteries ignite from overheating or short-circuiting, thermal runaway could occur from self-heating and release of the batteries’ stored energy. Other batteries within the cargo area could also ignite and cause a further catastrophic event, depending on the total number and type of batteries. Halon 1301 fire extinguisher effectiveness is not 100% with lithium-metal battery fires can result in the fire to spread within the cargo area. Lithium-metal batteries are currently prohibited as bulk cargo shipments on passenger-carrying aircraft.
If you are traveling, make sure you keep your batteries and electronics with you or in carry-on baggage. Avoid putting batteries in checked baggage so the flight crew can monitor any type of hazardous activity in the cabin area. TSA security might not allow the batteries to be stored in checked baggage. “As of January 1, 2008, the Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) no longer allows loose lithium batteries in checked baggage. The FAA also no longer allows large, palletized shipments of these batteries to be transported as cargo on passenger aircraft.”
TSA – Safe Travel with Batteries http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/batteries.shtm
FAA - Fighting Fires Caused By Lithium Type Batteries in Portable Electronic Devices - PDF File
October 21, 2010 00:42 by Jeremy
In latest news, scientists have dug deeper into the mystery of why lithium-ion batteries degrade over time. The answer, they currently believe, lies in nanoscale changes in the anode and cathode. Giorgio Rizzoni, along with colleagues at the Ohio State University, experimented with batteries that had finished their working lifespan. "We can clearly see that an aged sample versus and unaged sample has much lower lithium concentration in the cathode." In essence, the lithium had actually combined wtih the anode material, making it unavailable for transfer.
With the use of infrared thermal imaging, researchers were able to discover that the electrodes on dead batteries had nanomaterials that had coarsened in size. It is these finely-structured nanomaterials on the electrodes that allow the battery to charge and discharge. Though not yet proven, researchers are suspect that it is this cathode-coarsening that may be responsible for the loss of lithium.
If that theory turns out to be true, it could be a scientific breakthrough, as researchers and scientists could then use that information to create longer-lasting durable lithium ion batteries. This affects not only our electronic devices with laptops, digital cameras, and cell phones, but could also affect the future of gasoline-powered vehicles.
October 15, 2010 01:12 by Jeremy
If our childhood tv shows such as Power Rangers or Voltron have taught us anything, it’s that when you combine several things together, you get one massive, awesome…thing. Such is the case with the latest news of Apple iPad’s being sold by both AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Okay, so maybe we’ll stick with individual logos, just in case. Nonetheless, both AT&T and Verizon Wireless will begin selling the iPad (with their individual prices and plans, of course) on October 28th. So what’s so special about each of them, you may ask?
AT&T’s version of the iPad, which is Wi-Fi + 3G, is being sold for $629 for the 16GB version, $729 for 32GB, and $829 for 64GB. Their no-commitment data plans are coming in at 250MB for $15 or 2GB for $25, and that gives you access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi network.
Meanwhile, since the iPad’s 3G chip doesn’t work on Verizon’s network, Verizon has decided to incorporate the use of the MiFi 2200: a pocket-sized portable modem that will connect up to five WiFi-enabled devices to Verizon’s network. Thanks to its handy internet-bubble-function, you can buy the iPad/MiFi bundles at 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB for $630, $730, and $830, respectively, and still have access to the internet. Or, in case you don’t want the MiFi, iPads can be bought without them from Verizon for $500, $600, and $700 respectively. MiFi bundle customers can get a no-commitment data plan that comes in at 1GB for $20 a month.
And with the iPad now being sold in other retailers like Walmart and Target, this all just leaves one question: not WHEN will you buy one, but WHO will you buy it from?
October 14, 2010 23:02 by Ty
Scientists from Switzerland are identifying a condition where skin is exposed to heat for long periods of time and are calling it the, “Toasted Skin Syndrome.” This can occur with laptops where heat can exceed temperatures of 125 degrees Fahrenheit. The extreme heat is usually caused by a combination of components heating up internally in the laptop ranging from the batteries, power supply, processor, memory, hard drive, motherboard, on board video, and other laptop components. Extended periods of exposure to this kind of heat on your lap can create discolored and sponge-patterned skin on your legs. Chronic damage to the skin could lead to a small risk of further skin damage with long-term use of the laptop.
There is nothing new with laptops heating up and feeling too hot to put on our lap for actual use. However, if your laptop is getting too hot to touch, you should turn it off and think about aiding to the internal cooling. External USB laptop fan platforms, laptop stands, and cleaning the laptop air vents can help increase air flow to the internal components of your laptop. Just be aware that extended periods of hot laptop time could leave some marks on your lap that you might not find so amusing.
October 8, 2010 19:17 by Ty
Call2Recycle.org has met their goal of recycling over 1 million pounds of rechargeable batteries as of October 1, 2010. Recycling goals were set back on July 21, 2010 and over 1.24 million pounds of batteries have been recycled and not dumped into landfills. This program shows everyone the ease of recycling and the importance of protecting our environment from toxic materials. Rechargeable batteries are a long-lasting and environmentally friendly power source for many electronic devices. Rechargeable batteries can be found in laptops, digital cameras, camcorders, cell phones, cordless phones, cordless power tools, UPS devices, and other electronics. Even though the goal of recycling 1 million pounds of batteries has been met, we ask that you continue to recycle your rechargeable batteries and do not throw them away in the trash.
More information on how Call2Recycle met their 1 million pound battery recycling goal can be found on their battery recycling Web site.