Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Aluminum-Ion Battery from Stanford Charges in One Minute

Let's not lie to ourselves, we're glued to our smartphones. We have to have them on us at all times, no matter where we are or what we're doing and that can be a serious drain on our device's battery life. When the battery dies we have to charge it but even that can be a chore as it takes time to charge our batteries, time that our fast-paced, technology driven society would probably rather spend on something more smartphone usage. If only there were a way to have our smartphones charge in super fast, like in a minute or something...

Well that desire is now a possibility thanks to researchers at Stanford University, who have created an aluminum battery that charges smartphones to full capacity in just a single minute. The scientists say that the technology has the potential to replace many of the batteries used in mobile devices today. The findings themselves were detailed in an online edition of the Journal Nature and a press release was also made available.

Instead of the lithium-ion batteries that we use today, this new aluminum-ion battery is a much safer alternative as it is less of a fire hazard than its lithium counterpart. The prototype is also a better option for the environment disposable alkaline batteries like the ones you use in most other electrical devices, like a remote or a game controller.

The prototype battery was developed by Hongjie Dai, a chemistry professor at Stanford, along with some student colleagues. According to a statement from Dai, "We have developed a rechargeable aluminum battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames. Our new battery won't catch fire, even if you drill through it."

The battery itself will last through 7,500 charges, which is extremely impressive due to the fact that previous experimental aluminum batteries lasted only 10 charge cycles. For a comparison, a typical lithium-ion battery only lasts about 1,000 charge cycles according to current research.

Aluminum is becoming a more appealing material for batteries mainly because it's affordable, doesn't catch fire too easily and has a high charging capacity. The only real challenge that faced aluminum batteries has been "finding materials capable of producing sufficient voltage after repeated cycles of charging and discharging," according to researchers, though that is no longer a problem.

The battery itself consists of a negatively charged aluminum anode and a positively charged graphite cathode. In addition to that, the battery is also very durable and is even capable of bending, which severely increases its potential use in electronic devices. Researchers will still have to work on improving the voltage of the battery as the current model is only capable of producing half the voltage of a typical lithium battery.

This is definitely a monumental development in smartphone and mobile technology. Battery life is a key component to any smartphone, tablet, laptop or mobile device and being able to fully charge your device in a single minute is almost unfathomable. Check out Stanford's video below for a closer look at what they have created.

Content originally published here

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