By James Billington
The self-healing polymer coating, which will extend its life, will be applied to the silicon electrodes in a lithium battery. (BRAD PLUMMER/SLAC)
Researchers at Stanford University have developed a potential next-generation of battery with a new coating that enables it to “self-heal” and prolong its life span.
In a press release from the University it explained these new batteries will work by using a “stretchy polymer that coats the electrode, binds it and spontaneously heals tiny cracks that develop.”
Why batteries deteriorate is due to electrodes swelling and shrinking each time it charges and discharges, making the material brittle and cracking.
This new polymer with tiny nanoparticles of carbon would coat and repair those cracks “within just a few hours,” it claimed.
Scientists mimicked nature in the search for the answer of this new breakthrough. “Self-healing is very important for the survival and long lifetimes of animals and plants… we want to incorporate this feature into lithium ion batteries so they will have a long lifetime as well.”
Their technique emulates the “process that allows biological molecules such as DNA to assemble.”
In today’s plug-in lifestyle, the gadgets themselves have rapidly advanced, the source powering them hasn’t evolved as quickly. We’d be lucky to get two days’ juice out of our smartphones. Therefore, this news is welcomed with a sigh of relief for not only technology users but manufacturers, too. With automotive technology increasingly shifting towards the electric vehicle, limited battery range still poses the biggest problem. Solving this could see electric transportation finally take to the open road.
The battery is in the lab stage and still has plenty of development work. For the moment, we will have to remain perennially attached to the plug socket.