Battery, heal thyself: Inventing self-repairing batteries
Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 23:13:05 GMT
Topic: Science

( -- Imagine dropping your phone on the hard concrete sidewalk—but when you pick it up, you find its battery has already healed itself.

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are exploring ways to design batteries that heal themselves when damaged.

"This would help electronics survive daily use—both the long-term damage caused by charging over and over again, and also the inevitable physical damage of everyday life," said Jeff Moore, a UIUC scientist on the team.

Scientists think that loss of electrical conductivity is what causes a battery to fade and die. Theories abound on the specific molecular failures; perhaps chemicals build up on electrodes, or the electrodes themselves pull away. Perhaps it's simply the inevitable stress fractures in materials forced to expand and contract repeatedly as the battery is charged and used.

In any case, the battery's storage capacity drops due to loss of electrical conductivity. This is what the team wants to address...

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