Researchers Discover a Material Which Might Prevent Rechargeable Battery Degradation (The Merkle)
Batteries have changed our society forever, although the concept itself still warrants some further improvements. For many years now, technology companies and researchers have tried to extend battery life through various means. It now seems the University of Tokyo may have come up with the perfect solution. Its self-repairing electrode material can store electricity and thus impact battery life in a major way.
Self-repairing Electrode Material Changes Everything
To this date, no one even considered the possibility of extended the life of a battery through self-repairing electrode material. If the findings of the University of Tokyo are to be believed, that situation will come to change in the years ahead. Researchers discovered a way to potentially increase battery life at no additional cost. In fact, the overall performance of a battery would never suffer from degradation again.
To put this in perspective, researchers discovered this material this week. It is interesting for many different reasons, albeit the fact that it can repair itself every time a battery is charged will have the biggest repercussions. Not only will this allow the battery to maintain its performance levels, but it will also increase the overall battery life. While it may not lead to infinitely usable batteries, the concept is certainly worth pursuing.
For those unaware, rechargeable batteries can store electricity through desorbtion of ions from their electrode material. Storing more electricity requires desorbing more ions from the material. If a large number of ions are used to store electricity, the electrode material will begin to degrade. This is why rechargeable batteries require more charging periods as time progresses, or even cease to perform altogether.
The material discovered by the researchers is capable of repairing itself once it is completely charged. Any structural imperfections will be gone forever, What is rather curious is how this process seems to occur completely spontaneous, without relying on external input. This process is not a one-time deal either, as it will continue to occur every time the material is discharged and recharged accordingly.
The bigger question is how this new discovery will affect the life of rechargeable batteries in consumer devices. While this is a major breakthrough, it would also create some interesting side effects for manufacturers of phones, radios, alarm clocks, and so forth. Commercializing this technology will pose its own set of major challenges, as it seems unlikely such a discovery will become accessible to everyone in the world in the foreseeable future.
It would certainly be interesting to see how this technology can hold its own in a real-world environment. After all, there have been some tests involving this self-repairing material, but that is about as far as the researchers have gotten to date. A lot more research is required to effectively determine whether or not this concept is even viable for any purpose or product. The potential possibilities, however, are virtually limitless.
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