Print 7 comment(s) - last by boeush.. on Nov 20 at 4:15 PM

The new electrode is made of silicon and coated with a self-healing polymer

Smartphones are increasingly able to do more and more as they evolve, but these enhanced capabilities also drain the battery much quicker. And electric vehicles are a promising way to help the environment and save money at the pump, but electric range remains a concern for drivers who don't want a dead battery when traveling from point A to point B.

In other words, lithium-ion batteries that power devices and vehicles used today could always use extra charge capacity. Now, researchers at Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have found a potential way of doing just that. 

According to a new report from Forbes, the scientists have developed a self-healing battery electrode that will allow for greater charge capacity in lithium-ion batteries. 

Researchers have seen silicon as a potential battery electrode material for awhile now because it's capable of holding large amounts of energy while the battery charges, which extends its life. 

The problem is that silicon electrodes expand when they're charged, and contract when the electrons release. This causes them to stress and crack from the expansion until electrons can no longer be stored.


But the latest study aims to fix that problem by coating the silicon electrodes with self-healing polymer. When this polymer expands, it also cracks like the silicon. However, the broken bonds of the polymer "attract" one another, and returns back to its original shape. 

By coating the silicon with this sort of material, it can expand all it wants without cracking, and the electrodes can continue storing more energy without worry.

So far, the technology appears to be working. The researchers have put the electrodes through 100 charge-discharge cycles without any issues.

However, the team said the coated electrodes need to achieve 500 cycles for smartphones and 3,000 cycles for electric vehicles, so further testing is necessary before it can be considered a sure thing. 

"The ability to repair damage spontaneously, which is termed self-healing, is an important survival feature in nature because it increases the lifetime of most living creatures," said the team in their study. "This feature is highly desirable for rechargeable batteries because the lifetime of high-capacity electrodes, such as silicon anodes, is shortened by mechanical fractures generated during the cycling process."

Source: Forbes

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How about 730ish for a cellphone batter...
By tdktank59 on 11/18/2013 3:49:29 PM , Rating: 2
How about we up that 500 number to 730ish so that way we can go the 2 years between contract renewals...

Car batteries should be even longer imo... Figure 1 cycle a day * 10 years +

RE: How about 730ish for a cellphone batter...
By Souka on 11/18/2013 4:50:05 PM , Rating: 2
Well cracks occur currently and phone batteries last 2 years... my 2yr old iPhone4 still goes all day doing email, txts, light gamming on a charge with 10-30% remaining...

Add this "healing" tech into the equation I'd probably have more % at the end of the day and delay total failure

Cool improvement anyways.

By boeush on 11/20/2013 4:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
Well cracks occur currently and phone batteries last 2 years...
Current batteries don't use silicon electrodes for the reasons already elaborated in the article above.

Do you read and/or think before you post?

By retrospooty on 11/18/2013 4:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
That would be nice, but I am sure it isnt just "pick a # that fits with peoples usage". They are likely getting it as good as it can get with the current "economically viable" tech (meaning, if it would cost an extra $500 to get it from 500 to 730 days, its not worth it to anyone).

By inighthawki on 11/18/2013 4:55:57 PM , Rating: 1
Let's not get greedy. 500 and 3000 are both way more than 0.

By Solandri on 11/18/2013 6:31:13 PM , Rating: 4
How about we up that 500 number to 730ish so that way we can go the 2 years between contract renewals...

The specified cycles are typically deep cycles - from a charge over 90% to a discharge below 10%. Shallower cycles do not stress the battery as much, and contribute less (or not at all) to its eventual demise.

They finally figured this out on laptop batteries and manage the charge/discharge cycles to always leave a 10%-25% buffer. That's why newer laptops typically keep their 3-8 hour battery life for years, while older laptops frequently had batteries which would last 5 minutes after 18 months of use. Same thing with cars - most EVs keep the charge between 20%-80% or 25%-75% (i.e. you're only allowed to use 50%-60% of the battery's full capacity).

By emilinedbp157 on 11/20/13, Rating: 0
"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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