Stanford University Researchers develop longer lasting battery
Stanford University’s researchers might be on the breakthrough in battery engineering, a battery whose anode component is also made up of lithium, which can last two to three times longer than standard batteries of today.
While rechargeable batteries in our smartphones, tablets, and even electric cars are called Lithium Ion batteries, in truth, lithium is used only in one part of the battery, the electrolytes that actually provide the electrons. Engineers say that if the battery’s anode, the part that discharges those electrons, were also made up of lithium, the extension on battery life will be substantial. Unfortunately, lithium expands almost indefinitely when charged, is highly reactive, and prone to overheating.
Researchers at Stanford, which include Guangyuan Zheng and former US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, have solved this issue using what they call nanospheres. These are basically carbon domes that shield the lithium, much like a honeycomb constrains honey. Carbon is the perfect material for this purpose since it is chemically stable, strong, and flexible enough to adapt to the expanding and contracting of lithium. This nanosphere is so thin, that it would take 5,000 of them stacked together to even come close to the width of a single human hair strand.
This means that not only will batteries be able to last longer on a single charge, it can also have a longer overall lifetime. Commercial batteries need to have a coulumbic efficiency, the ratio of lithium given out when discharging compared to what is received when charging, of 99.9 percent. The Standford battery was already able to achieve 99 percent efficiency even after 150 cycles of this discharge and charging process, which means they are quite close, but will still need a bit of time before they can make this ultimate battery dream a reality.
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