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?

Source: BNL; Via: Gizmodo

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Scientists now know why rechargeable batteries go bad, and may know how to fix them


Almost all phones come brand new out of the box with the inability to hold a respectable charge. A battery pack, or mid-day recharge (or two) are required, from day one.

I agree. To me battery life is by far the biggest flaw in mobile phones but is also the most important feature. Let's hope for new technology for small batteries.

This seems like it won't help with battery power or perceived battery life. From what I understand it would help the slow degrade of a battery's performance over long periods of time.

Sure we are likely a long way away from the longer lasting rechargeable battery, what we do need is what we have been getting from every OTHER smartphone mfg except Apple. A real battery in their phones. Apple is obsessed with thin phones, forgetting the fact that you need a battery in the phone to work and last all day. LG developed better battery technology to maximize the available space in the phone, Samsung uses removable batteries and Apples plan is to use undersized batteries and tell you to pay $79 in a year when its out of warranty and the battery can't hold a charge. See the problem. Yes I do own Apple products and no it doesn't change the fact the under size their batteries in the iPhone.

They've known this for years. There's a reason they don't acknowledge it. I will hold onto my iPhone 5C until a phone comes out that can last a full day with Bluetooth, Location, and WIFI on. Not necessarily in use, but on, so I never have to ever think about turning them off to save battery life. It's 2014 people. We have airplanes that are battery powered. We can do it with phones.