Some of the best discoveries in science happen purely by accident. Actually, some of the best things in life happen by accident. In the near future, maybe we can add a smartphone battery that recharges in one minute to the list of the best things in life.
According to an article in Reuters, one day not too long ago, a team led by Stanford University chemistry professor Hongje Dai working on developing an aluminum-ion smartphone battery, accidentally discovered that graphite paired up well with aluminum. This was the breakthrough they were looking for.
For many years, researchers have tried, fruitlessly, to develop a battery made of aluminum. Aluminum is a lightweight, relatively cheap metal with a high charging capacity.
It is also a safer metal. Lithium-ion batteries are known to occasionally burst into flames. Quoted in Reuters, Dai said, “Lithium-ion batteries can be a fire hazard. Our new battery won't catch fire, even if you drill through it."
In addition to having the capability of recharging in one minute, and not catching on fire, aluminum-ion batteries have proven to last more than 7,500 cycles without loss of capacity. Compare this to the lithium-ion battery which only lasts about 1,000 cycles.
In this new battery, aluminum will provide the negatively-charged anode and graphite the positively charged cathode to supply a current.
This new aluminum-ion battery may have applications beyond smartphones and laptops. In larger versions, they could be used to store renewable energy on the electrical grid.
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