London, May 22 (IANS) What if the plastic on your phone or laptop cover could dissipate heat created by the lithium batteries when they are overcharged?
This may soon be a reality as scientists are now on course to develop a "smart" plastic that can prevent your electronic devices from overheating and also save you from related potential accidents.
Researchers have developed a method of synthesising and processing the plastic called ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) which is used to make a variety of products, from prostheses to body armour, good at conducting heat.
"We know that it works, we know it is thermally conductive, because we already have the data," said Sara Ronca from Loughborough University in Britain.
What we have to do now is find out how we can tailor the material for any industrial application, she noted.
The plastic could be used as a heat sink in computers as a replacement for metals, which are expensive, heavy and also conduct electricity, and composite materials which are not only dearer but also harder to recycle because of the fillers they contain.