A button cell battery with a fuse

A button cell battery with a fuse

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By Wisse Hettinga

The familiar 2 cm diameter button cell battery is found in the LED candles we all know from Christmas, in your car key, and in that cute cuddly toy with music.

Every parent knows that swallowing a button cell battery can be dangerous for a child, but that the consequences could be so severe is less well known.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Tjark Ebels of the UMCG and ENT doctor Freek Dikkers have regularly seen them come through; children who have swallowed a button cell battery.

Ebels: “When the battery is swallowed, the electrical charge generated by the battery will immediately begin to dissolve tissue, leaving a child with permanent damage or, in the worst case, death. In collaboration with TU Delft, we have developed a fused button cell battery. This fuse automatically interrupts the flow of the button cell battery within minutes after ingestion. This power interruption does not only prevent serious injury or death, but also tissue damage which is less severe. The good thing is that the Fused Button Battery system is compatible with all standard button cell battery manufacturing processes. Now that there is a patent application, a team of professionals should actually get to work on developing the button battery so that the child-friendly button battery will become the standard. Obviously, that is our mission.”

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