Scientists now know why rechargeable batteries go bad, and may know how to fix them
Sweet, sweet science is on its way to finding a cure for how lithium-ion batteries (like the one in your phone) lose their ability to hold a charge over time. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley, Brookhaven, and Stanford have found a pattern to the erosion that happens at both anode and cathode ends of the battery, when previously it was assumed the erosion was uniform. The salt that forms at the anode side and the metallic erosion on the cathode side both latch onto microscopic imperfections, kind of like how a water droplets latch onto a piece of dirt to begin forming rain or a snowflake.
With deeper understanding of these erosion patterns, researchers are already digging into solutions to the problem. Scientists at Berkeley are already working on a powder that will counteract small-scale imperfections on the anodes and improve overall battery life.
This research is still in the early stages, so it's hard to say exactly how much more long-term battery life we can eventually expect from this research, but it sure is promising. We use lithium-ion batteries a lot, and since the core battery technology doesn't change often, every improvement we see is welcome. Be sure to dig into the article at the source link for more of the scientific nitty-gritty.
Are you happy with your phone's battery life? How long is it until your battery can't hold a respectable charge anymore?