The present invention pertains to electrochemical cells which comprise (a) an anode; (b) a cathode; (c) a solid porous separator, such as a polyolefin, xerogel, or inorganic oxide separator; and (d) a nonaqueous electrolyte, wherein the separator comprises a porous membrane having a microporous coating comprising polymer particles which have not coalesced to form a continuous film. This microporous coating on the separator acts as a safety shutdown layer that rapidly increases the internal resistivity and shuts the cell down upon heating to an elevated temperature, such as 110.degree. C. Also provided are methods for increasing the safety of an electrochemical cell by utilizing such separators with a safety shutdown layer.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Grant Number DE-FG02-02ER83542 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.