New Nanotube Batteries Recharge in Seconds
August 9, 2006 9:54 AM
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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
, 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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RE: Charging power requirements
8/10/2006 1:58:15 PM
no, they don't supply two different voltages. A 230v AC circuit consists of two wires, each with a 230v peak-to-valley 60hz waveform. The two waveforms are 180 degrees out of phase, so if both wires are attached to one device, it gets 230v AC. To supply power to the regular 115V outlets in a home, only 1 of the main supply wires is connected to a given circuit; the other wires in the circuit are are grounded (yes, the 'neutral' pin and the 'ground' pin in a 3-prong house plug are both grounded; there's no real difference between the two). So relative to ground, a device gets 115v AC.
(or 240/120v, or 220/110v... voltage levels vary a bit; I think the official US standard is 230/115, but I've measured anywhere from just under 110 to just over 120... seems 117 or so is what I see most often).
Secondly, transmission loss isn't an issue related to the final supply voltage. The ONLY time voltage on the wires gets as low as 240v is on the final run from the pole to the house; I don't know the exact voltages, but the voltage on the local (neighborhood) grid wires is somewhere in the 1000 volt range. The bigger lines that carry power from the substations to the local neighboorhood grids are higher again, and so on till you get to the 100,000 volt (and higher probably!) distribution lines.
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