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Lithium Silicon Battery Doubles The Battery Life

Question asked by cooltwins in #Coffee Room on May 12, 2012
cooltwins
cooltwins · May 12, 2012
Rank B1 - LEADER
Let us, for the sake of discussion, assume that you are a photographer. You decide to go on a trip to a place known for its beauty, with dreams of taking loads of pictures. You get to the place and start clicking each and every thing that you can see and with in hours your camera battery gets empty, that too when there are still loads of places to cover. Most of us would be like “If only my battery had enough charge for another half an hour!” Well, for people who find themselves in similar situations at times, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (now called the Stanford National Accelerator Laboratory) is coming up with a lithium-silicon battery. This battery can give you double the battery life and eventually give you five times the normal battery life. So if this is made commercially viable, that one battery will be enough for the entire trip.

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Image Courtesy: www.dvice.com

Carbon Nanotubes have been one of the main reasons for the incredible advancements in power efficiency. Generally, Lithium ion batteries use graphite anodes for storing charge. It does look good enough but only a sixth of the carbon atoms are able to hang on to a lithium ion and that results in inefficient energy density. But if silicon was used, four lithium ions can bind to every one silicon atom and that can boost the energy density to 10 times the original.

But there is one problem to be dealt with when using this technology. When silicon atoms take in the lithium ions like that, they swell up to four times their initial volume and when the ions are discharged it shrinks backs to original size. During this process the entire battery will have to expand and contract. This can cause a decrease in the battery life and makes it useless.

In order to combat this problem, researchers at SLAC have come up with a design that uses silicon battery anode of double-walled silicon nanotubes coated with silicon oxide. This does not stop the process of expansion and contraction. But it allows the expansion to happen inward into a hollow center of the tube. This reduces the damage. A battery built using this technology can endure 6,000 charge/discharge cycles with 85% capacity remaining.

Stanford has already licensed the relevant patents out to a company called Amprius. The near time goal is to produce a battery with double the normal energy density and a long time goal is to increase it to 5 times the original. Posted in: #Coffee Room

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