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

Batteries
By Simon Sage on 29 May 2014 03:28 pm
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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

Related: Battery News

Reader comments

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

19 Comments

I usually don't keep devices long enough for it to be a major concern but the few devices I do keep have lost considerable charge time within a couple years. This may not only be the battery and could be related to device updates so I can't say for sure. Anything to make them last longer is a welcome advancement.

My Galaxy Nexus battery can't last more than half a day, when it used to hold up the whole day. Had it for 2 years and a couple months.
Before that had a Palm Pre. Had it almost 3 years before the battery turned bad, expanded and the battery cover couldn't close anymore.
I'm Canadian and at that time the contracts were for 3 years. So you can understand that it can get frustrating when you get problems before the end of the contract.
Thankfully, the terms of contracts in Canada have been reduced to 2 years not so long ago.

Thankfully, here en Denmark contracts run for only 6 months. Can't imagine the frustration it must be to be locked into a single carrier for so long, only being able to watch how other carriers get better and more inexpensive products that you just can't get unless you want to pay two bills... Oh well, I'm on an off-contract carrier anyway, but...

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My battery usually goes around the 2 - 2.5 year mark. Once I notice the decline the device gets sold to another unsuspecting user. I realise I am a bad person.

Batteries have always been behind the technology curve. Much of what holds tech back is battery capabilities. I hope this is a sign off things to come and that battery technology will catch up to the rest of the field

When it comes to battery technology improvements, I'm very skeptical. We've been hearing about all kinds of improvements for many years, and very little has actually come to fruition.

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This will be really nice for future phones that don't have a removable battery. We might even see less phones with removable batteries in the future. I know people who like to swap batteries or add bigger batteries won't like that though.

Hope the solution would have been figured out soon. It would be great for us, human not to waste each watt of energy with degraded battery.

The ability to recondition or revive these batteries would be better. There must be an absolute megaton of these things disposed of every year...

batteries have always been a pain in the @$$ for me. My laptop's battery was able to last 2 houres when it was brand new, today, 3 to 4 years later it wouldn't last longer than 15 mins. On my sister's laptop it is even worse: whe she pulls out the power cord the laptop stops. Her battery is a 100% death. So come on mad scientists! we're all waiting for the (commercial) solution!!!

This is great to hear! I hope they can actually start implementing this powder in the next 5 years or so. I'm on my 3rd battery for my galaxy nexus so far.

honestly, im kinda happy with what we have now.... not that i'm against the innovation... but my schedule has me charge at night, use all day, charge at night, use all day, rinse and repeat... unless they can extend it to 2 whole days of usage, a little bit of improvement doesn't matter much to me as i will still charge every night...

My nephew always asks "Why" and my husband and I have found the quickest way to get him to stop is to say "Because of Science". Well now there is one more cool thing for us to talk about with him. I don't think there's a single person who will complain about a longer lasting battery. Now the tricky part is getting it out there and not letting a company buy and hide the patent/solution.

Scientists have found a cure, it's called a removable battery! Now all we need is the idiotic OEM's to reimplement it, so we're all not forced to use Samsung products!

Well this could really help us saving bucks from buying very expensive phone batteries.

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This is one of the things I think everybody wants to happen along with more power to last more than one day on a single charge.

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