In developing countries much importance is given to repairing a device than buying a new one. However, even in such places the ways to repair a battery are not very well known. Anyone who tries to identify the problem in the power storage device has to break it open. This inflicts considerable damage to the battery, thus defeating the purpose. Now a team of scientists claims to repair the battery even without touching it. At least they can identify the exact area where the problem exists. The technique suggested by them for doing this is MRI!
Image Credit: Meta Efficient
Yes, it is the same MRI scan that is used to detect body ailments. It helps us to have a correct picture of patient's anatomy from inside. Until now the major hurdle seen in employing the magnetic resonance imaging scan was the metal used in batteries. It is very well known that the radio waves emitted in MRI cannot penetrate through metal, while major portion of the batteries is made up of metal. Researching upon Li-ion batteries, the team could identify the Li-ion species and the places where they were concentrated on the electrode. This eventually reduces the chances of breaking a battery open.
When a researcher tries to make better batteries, he/she more often tries the trial and error method. Looking for variants of existing electrodes and electrolytes is the most common thing done by scientists. This is also where the MRI scan might prove to be useful in future. One can test the effectiveness of the electrodes by determining the concentration of ions near them. The team believes that the method could prove to be useful in making advance power storage devices.
The research is a collaboration between Clare Grey, associate director of the Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage and Alexej Jerschow, head of the multi-disciplinary MRI research laboratory. The research has been published in the latest edition of Nature Materials.
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