Researchers at the University of California, Irvine invented a battery material that s nanowire-based. This breakthrough might just move us closer to a battery that will never need replacement.
This battery breakthrough has been considered as such a remarkable discovery. It might lead the commercial batteries to have a greatly lengthened lifespan for spacecraft, cars, computers, appliances and smart phones.
Phone Battery lasting 400 Years made by Accident?
According to Business Insider, Mya Le Thai a PhD student at the UCI had been researching on the properties of nanowires. She made this amazing discovery accidentally through nanowires of gold embedded in an electrolyte gel.
Nanowires being good conductors have the ability to hold electrons due to their surface area. Since they are very fragile they crack and give out after a few charge cycles.
A charge cycle is when a battery which is completely full goes empty and then goes back to being completely full. Thai’s accidental breakthrough occurred when a set of gold nanowires were being coated in MnO2 and an electrolyte gel which was Plexiglas-like.
According to GOOD, Chair of the Chemistry department in the University, Reginald Penner gave a brief account of the discovery. Penner while talking about Thai, mentioned, “She started to cycle these gel capacitors, and that’s when we got the surprise,” and added, “She said, ‘this thing has been cycling 10,000 cycles and it’s still going.’ She came back a few days later and said ‘it’s been cycling for 30,000 cycles.’ That kept going on for a month”
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The results shocked Penner. It has been so far believed that these batteries usually have a rapid decline after 5000 or 6000 cycles. An average laptop battery last for 300-500 cycles. Hence, this was a startling discovery which Thai had made. The battery which UCI had made would extend the lifespan of the battery by 400 years.
Discovery to help in future?
Despite the discovery, researchers are still questioning as to why the combination of the gel and gold make the battery this much powerful. Since gold is an expensive material, scientists wish to look for alternatives to make the product marketable post production.
It is still uncertain as to when we can get hold of this super durable battery in our tech gadgets. But this accidental discovery has been promising.