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Scientists create battery that doesn't need to be replaced

2016-04-25 03:13 by


Researchers from the University of California, Irvine have accidentally discovered a way to boost battery longevity by up to 400 times.

In an attempt to find an alternative to lithium used in batteries, the researchers replaced it with nanowire-based gold material coated with electrolyte gel. They found out that by housing battery components in a gel shell they can be recharged (or cycled) hundreds of thousands of times without losing any power.

"Scientists are interested in nanowires because they allow high power to be obtained, without reducing the total amount of energy that is stored," Reginald Penner, chairman of UCI's chemistry department said.

"But nanowires are fragile," he added. "Any corrosion or dissolution of the nanowire material leads very quickly to breakage of the nanowire, and a loss of its capacity — which is bad. Our research is important because it demonstrates that a very simple modification to a battery or capacitor may allow nanowire electrode materials to last a lot longer, up to 40 times longer in our studies."

And because the price of the gold would make such batteries too expensive, the researchers suggest nickel as an adequate substitute for mass production.

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