Batteries produced with LiCoO2 cathodes, while providing higher capacity, are more reactive and have poorer thermal stability than chemistries such as the newer lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminum-oxide types. This makes LiCoO2 batteries susceptible to thermal runaway in cases of abuse such as high temperature operation (>130 °C) or overcharging. At elevated temperatures, LiCoO2decomposition generates oxygen, which then reacts with the organic electrolyte of the cell. This is a safety concern due to the magnitude of this highly exothermic reaction, which can spread to adjacent cells or ignite nearby combustible material.
The compound's usefulness as an intercalation electrode was discovered in 1980 by John B. Goodenough's research group at Oxford.
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