This day in age, there are many pieces of technology that are almost impossible to avoid, and among them are batteries. They are in our computers, phones, cars, remotes, headphones, media players, computer mice and keyboards, clocks, and much more. Despite how common they are though, there is still a great deal of work to be done on them to make them what we want them to be, and researchers at Kansas State University are among those doing that work.
Two of the most important properties of a battery are its energy density or capacity, and its charge/discharge rate. Traditionally batteries have been good at achieving high capacities, but cannot stand up to capacitors for charge/discharge rates. This is something the researchers are trying to change though by redesigning the electrode. The new structure they are testing has silicon coated with carbon nanofibers for the electrodes and can store 10 times more energy as current electrodes. This would represent a 10-15% improvement in overall battery performance and should make the gap between batteries and capacitors a little narrower.
The researchers are also working on improving the lifespan of batteries because having a battery only last a year or two is not ideal. Batteries can be quite expensive, so a future filled with battery-powered vehicles could be very costly with the number of replacements required.