Science 2 min read

Japanese Engineers Develop Self-Repairing Batteries

200degrees / Pixabay

200degrees / Pixabay

Engineers at the University of Tokyo have developed a new way to create self-repairing batteries. That way, users can enjoy a  higher capacity and a better battery life.

Batteries are an essential part of every electronic device. Whether it’s your smartphone, pacemaker, or even cars, not only do batteries power our world today, but their importance continues to grow.

To meet the growing demand for power, we must first improve two specific aspects of batteries: longevity and capacity.

Why Lithium-ion Based Batteries Have Limited Longevity and Capacity

While lithium-ion batteries and the less common sodium based counterpart can store a lot of charges, they also come with a downside. As you use and charge these batteries over time, their storage capacity reduces.

A quick glimpse of the inner working of a typical lithium-ion battery would reveal why.

The battery has layers of metallic material that degrade every time you charge and discharge your batteries. And as these layers degenerate, they develop a form of cracks called stacking faults caused by a weak Van Der Waals force.

Overwhelmed by the stress you put on your device when charging or using, the stacking faults subsequently reduce your battery’s ability to store and deliver charge. In the end, it may not hold any more charge.

Now, researchers at the University of Tokyo may have come up with a viable solution. Imagine a self-repairing battery to not only give your battery a higher capacity but a longer life too.

Stronger Force of Attraction To Create Self-Repairing Batteries

In their paper in Nature Communications, Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team described what happened when they made a battery using oxygen redox-layered oxide (Na2RuO3). It was remarkable.

Alongside reducing the degradation from charge and discharge significantly, the oxygen redox-layered oxide actually caused the metallic layers to self-repair.

How is this possible, you wonder?

According to the researchers, the material in the new self-repair battery is held fast by Coulombic attraction. That’s far stronger than Van Der Waals force in lithium-ion batteries.

Yamada noted:

“This means batteries could have far longer life spans, but also they could be pushed beyond levels that currently damage them.”

The researcher believes we can someday depend completely on electrified transportation. But first, we must increase the density of current batteries.

Read More: Startup Introduces World’s First Battery-Free Bluetooth Sticker

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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