A revolutionary process to make batteries last longer


Researchers at Stanford University have discovered a technique to revive the lithium clusters that form in lithium-ion batteries. This allows them to increase their lifespan and restore the capacity that has been lost during the recharging cycles.

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The most common type of battery is the lithium-ion battery. Several technologies are in line to replace it.

One of the biggest problems with electronic devices mobiles is at the level of autonomy, which decreases over time. In the batteries lithium-ionas the discharge and recharge cycles progress, the piles lithium are formed reducing the capacity of the accumulator and creating a risk of court-circuit and of fire.

In an article published in review Nature, researchers at Stanford University wanted to better understand the functioning of these isolated lithium « islands » and therefore built a drums transparent in order to observe them. They discovered that these clusters are not completely inactive. One side is dissolved, while the other of the matter is filed. They therefore move very slowly towards one or the other of the electrodes during charge and discharge cycles.

A rapid discharge to reconnect the isolated lithium

This displacement was found to be faster with a higher current. The researchers therefore added a rapid discharge step directly after the end of a charge cycle. This allowed the isolated lithium to be displaced enough to reconnect it to theanode. The cluster is then reactivated and participates again in the charge cycle of the accumulator. In the laboratory, the drums experimental saw its duration life extended by 30%.

According to the researchers, the technique could be applied to current accumulators, prolonging their life and increasing the autonomy of devices whose batteries are starting to run low. It could also remove the main obstacle to the development of lithium-metal accumulators, whose capacity is ten times that of batteries lithium-ion but whose metallic lithium anode disintegrates over time.

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