MAKE pal Tom A. writes in with a bit of battery discussion regarding a recent (potential incident) with lithium batteries, he writes “Please check out (this PDF) especially the pictures of blown-up electronics. This report has some great pictures of what can go wrong with lithium batteries. Ordinary lithium batteries have 1/8 the energy density of TNT (in their electric charge alone, not counting the energy you get from burning lithium), and are headed towards 1/6.
I think the 1/8 and 1/6 energy density fractions are interesting (and inflammatory!) Here is the reference for the energy density of lithium batteries – Link.
Here is the article with the energy density of TNT – Link.
Here’s what it has to do with Makers: Can you replace the batteries in your own device?
Gadget capability is limited by the tradeoff between safety and battery energy density. Exploding counterfeit batteries make this tradeoff especially painful, which is giving rise to ‘battery authentication’ chips, that purport to establish that batteries are legit. Consumers perceive these chips as a way for a vendor to lock in a high-cost replacement battery. I paid $30 retail for a little cell phone lithium battery that I know “should cost” about $10. But it seems like they are addressing a real problem, assuring that my cell phone will not explode. Now I predict that there will be another crypto war, this time between battery authenticators and imitators. Read this article about the battery authentication chips – Link.“