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Charge of the light battery brigade

作者:叶夔锃    发布时间:2019-03-07 14:19:00    

By Michael Fitzpatrick ELECTRIC cars could go farther between recharges and mobile phones will have talk time measured in days if a Japanese breakthrough in battery technology becomes a commercial reality. Researchers at Tottori University led by Takao Esaka say that a their new electrode could increase the capacity of a lithium ion battery by as much as 30-fold. This type of battery is used in mobile phones and other applications where as much energy as possible has to be stored in the smallest possible package. Lithium ion batteries have an anode made of graphite and a cathode made of cobalt oxide. Lithium ions in the electrolyte accumulate on the cathode when the battery is being charged. When the battery delivers power, the ions flow back to the anode. The Japanese team aimed to boost the battery’s capacity by increasing the amount of lithium the anode can store. Their experiments showed that an anode made of magnesium and tin has a more cracked surface—and hence a larger effective surface area—than a graphite anode. Gram for gram, it trebles the amount of energy that can be stored. In addition, the new electrode is much denser than graphite. “Our compound is about 10 times as dense, so an electrode of the same size provides about 30 times the capacity of a conventional battery,” Esaka says. Vasant Kumar, an expert on power cells at Cambridge University, says the development is “definitely interesting”. “Any improvement in anode capacity will indeed result in lighter and or more compact batteries, but the effect will be marginal until significant improvements are achieved in cathode capacity,” he says. Refinements are still being made to the new component and Esaka is unsure of a production date,

 

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