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Scientists’ Discovery Means Extended Cell Phone Battery Life: Droid users rejoice!

Revealed in a post on phys.org, a team of scientists have discovered a solution to a common life cycle issue of lithium-ion batteries that could seriously extend the life of all your small electronics.

(Phys.org) — For more than a decade, scientists have tried to improve lithium-based batteries by replacing the graphite in one terminal with silicon, which can store 10 times more charge. But after just a few charge/discharge cycles, the silicon structure would crack and crumble, rendering the battery useless.

The development of a “cleverly designed double-walled nanostructure” is said to last more than 6,000 cycles, beyond the necessary requirements for electric vehicles and mobile electronics.

“This is a very exciting development toward our goal of creating smaller, ligher, and longer-lating batteries than are available today,” said materials scientist, Yi Cui of Stanford.

The stronger walls of the newly designed process prevent the materials within the battery from expanding and contracting, which leads to the shorter lives of modern batteries.  Silicone within the battery caused the walls to expand and eventually crumble; the new design allows the swelling to take place in a hollow interior. This hollow structure is also too small for electrolytes to enter, another shortcoming of the current structure that caused decay and, ultimately, diminished battery life.

Future efforts aim at simplifying the development process for making the double-wall silicon nanotubes and furthering development of high-performance cathodes to combine with the new battery for five times the performance of today’s lithium-ion technology.


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