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The new batteries can also be recharged hundreds of thousands of times say MIT researchers

You could be charging your long lasting batteries in a matter of seconds in the future if several researchers at MIT get their way. According to a report on ScienCentralNews, researchers at MIT have discovered a new way of making batteries that involves using millions of nanotubes. Leaping over traditional battery technologies, the new types of batteries are based on capacitors, which have been around even longer than the battery itself.

A capacitor maintains a charge by relying on two metallic electrodes. The actual storage capacity of a capacitor is directly proportional to the surface area of those electrodes, and unfortunately making a capacitor in traditional battery sizes means that the electrode surface area is simply too small. To overcome this, the researchers cover the electrodes with millions of nanotube filaments, effectively increasing the surface area.

According to research team leader Joel Schindall "[the nanotube battery] could be recharged many, many times perhaps hundreds of thousands of times, and ... it could be recharged very quickly, just in a matter of seconds rather than a matter of hours." With such promise, Schindall and his team believes that the new technology will revolutionize portable electronics as well as the automotive industry. "Larger devices such as automobiles where you could regeneratively re-use the energy of motion and therefore improve the energy efficiency and fuel economy."

The research team at MIT is hoping that this new promising technology will show up in the market in less than five years from now.

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a little more than that
By Chernobyl68 on 8/9/2006 11:45:13 AM , Rating: 1
the amount of charge that can be stored by a capacitor is also based on the distance between the plates, and the dielectric material. Capacitors do charge faster because they're not dependant on a chamical reaction for storing charge. capacitors of the size needed to power a car would be exceptionally dangerous though...think how much power would be released if it were shorted out in a collision...

RE: a little more than that
By miniMUNCH on 8/9/2006 12:11:26 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah...the battery shorting out would be like a transformer shorting out AND then exploding.

I've seen a transformer explode...all I can say is "Gad damn!!"

RE: a little more than that
By Spyvie on 8/9/2006 12:20:47 PM , Rating: 2
Gas tanks can explode too, gasoline is poisonous and flammable, and nuclear power plants are dangerous.

In fact traveling at any speed faster than about 10mph is inherently dangerous.

I’ve seen a jillion motor start capacitors rupture, in fact they usually fail by rupturing and spilling dielectric. They don’t usually explode with any violent force though.

RE: a little more than that
By exdeath on 8/9/2006 12:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
The cause for explosion is the rapid heating and associated pressure spike caused within a liquid dielectric capacitor when large currents are dumped instantaneously. This only applies when a liquid dielectric is used as in an electrolytic capacitor.

Are these 'batteries' electrolytic or dry?

RE: a little more than that
By Larso on 8/10/2006 1:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
When gas tanks "explode", they can only release as much energy as there is oxygen to burn - not a true explosion where all energy is released at once. Though Hollywood gas tanks obey to other laws than nature's as we know :P

When your start-capacitor rupture you only release a few joules of power, if a joule at all, due to their relatively low capacity. There is no comparison to what's debated here.

The danger of high capacity batteries is no joke. We have all read about exploding laptops and heard about the security features necessary in each and every LiIon battery. Naked, charged LiIon batteries WILL explode if shortcircuited. The capacitor battery will be no different. If you have large amounts of energy contained in a small place, there is always the risk of an explosion, if the battery is able to release the energy quickly.

"In fact traveling at any speed faster than about 10mph is inherently dangerous" BS. By that logic absolutely nothing is not inherently dangerous.

RE: a little more than that
By highlandsun on 8/10/2006 11:59:04 PM , Rating: 2
The energy in such a huge capacitor probably could cause an explosion if shorted out, but that depends on the thing that caused the short. More likely it would melt and break the circuit.

There are such things as fuses too... The 12v battery in any car today could cause a nasty explosion too, why aren't you worried about that? There's a 100amp fuse on mine...

RE: a little more than that
By MadAd on 8/9/2006 12:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
I have no doubt that it would be awash with fusable links.

RE: a little more than that
By exdeath on 8/9/2006 12:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well first of all you would have cells of several banks of capacitors in parallel, so it’s highly unlikely that the whole battery would release its charge at once. At most you would have numerous smaller discharges instead of one great one.

And only simple fast acting fuses are required to prevent intentional electrical shorting of the main terminals of the entire bank.

What is promising about this technology is the peak instantaneous current draw allowed.
Chemical batteries have limits on the maximum current they can provide based on the rate of reaction. i.e.: short a battery with an ammeter, not only is the max current limited by the reaction speed, but the battery will be destroyed at that current due to heat released by uninhibited reaction, so not only is the maximum current limited, it’s not even attainable in practice.

A capacitor based system, provided the rest of the system could handle it, you could dump tremendous reserves instantly. Good for acceleration response in electric cars?

RE: a little more than that
By rushfan2006 on 8/9/2006 2:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot one that is big to me too....the wimpy sound...

I don't know after having 2 300hp or better sports cars in my life back to back....that actually had a nice "rumble" go to a car that sounds like a blender on steroids...just not the same feeling you know?

Oh yeah and dude...800 hp!! DAYYYYYYUMMMMMM!

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