Mya Le Thai, a scientist from the University of California, Irvine has introduced a new technology to mankind. An invention which is a nanowire-based battery material that can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times, moving us closer to a battery that would never require replacement.
She said Lithium ion batteries use nanowire technology which loses its ability to fully charge with time, they expand and grow brittle, which leads to cracking. So, there was a need to change this concept. These nanowires are extremely thin (1000 times thinner than the human hair). As a result, they are effective conductors of electricity and feature a large surface area for the storage and transfer of electrons. However, these wires are extremely fragile and don't hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging.
Alkaline battery. Image source: Wikipedia
According to Thai's theory, nanowires could last longer if covered. After experimenting with many coverings they found a hard, clear plastic material called PMMA. These wires when covered with PMMA cycled through charges 28 times more than the covered ones. "The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option," Thai said. "This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality." Also, they showed no signs of damage even after 200,000 cycles. It is unknown how much further testing of the batteries is needed before it could make a commercial debut; however, this was published in The American Chemical Society's Energy Letters this week.
The breakthrough work could lead to commercial batteries with greatly lengthened lifespans for computers, smartphones, appliances, cars and spacecraft. And therefore, the results suggest that these batteries with covered nanowires might last forever.
-by Vrushali Mahajan
Vrushali is pursuing her graduation in Journalism and is an intern at NewsGram. You can reach the author at twitter- Vrushali Mahajan