Monday, August 31, 2015

New Solid-State Batteries From Samsung/MIT Could "Last A Lifetime"

Batteries. We need them for almost everything we use. They're in our laptops, our smartphones, our video game controllers, our remotes, and anything we use that is now wireless. But the one thing wrong with batteries in today's world is that they are finite. Eventually, they will run out of power and there's not a whole lot we can do about that. Or is there?

Researchers have recently developed a new material for a basic battery component that, according to them, will allow almost any battery indefinite power storage. This new material, known as a solid electrolyte, could increase battery life as well as battery storage capacity and safety as liquid electrolytes are the leading cause of battery fires.

The standard lithium-ion batteries that we use today use a liquid electrolyte. This liquid electrolyte is an organic solvent that has been known to overheat and cause fires in things like cars, commercial airliners and even smartphones. With a solid electrolyte, there is absolutely no safety problem whatsoever.

According to Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT and one of the main researchers on the project, "You could throw it against the wall, drive a nail through it - there's nothing there to burn." In addition to that, a solid-state electrolyte will have virtually no degradation, which means that such batteries could last through "hundreds of thousands of cycles," Ceder continued.

Organic electrolytes also have limited electrochemical stability, which means that they lose their ability to produce an electrical charge over time. In addition to MIT, scientists from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, the University of California at San Diego and the University of Maryland also conducted research on the project.

The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Materials and the researchers described the solid-state electrolytes as an improvement over the current lithium-ion batteries we are using today. Electrolytes are one of three main components in a battery along with anode and cathode terminals.

The electrolyte component of the battery separates the battery's positive cathode and negative anode terminals while allowing the flow of ions between terminals. A chemical reaction then takes place between the two terminals, producing an electric current.

Previous problems with solid electrolytes are that they were incapable of conducting ions fast enough to be efficient energy, producers. The team of researchers from MIT and Samsung say that they have overcome that problem. Another advantage of a solid-state lithium-ion battery is that it can perform under very cold temperatures with Ceder calling this breakthrough "a real game-changer" that creates an "almost perfect battery".

Content originally published here
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