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Heat Might Extend Battery Lifetime

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 06:45AM
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Batteries are an integral technology supporting modern life, but despite how widespread they are, they can be dangerous. Overtime it is possible for lithium-ion batteries to form dendrites inside of them, which can reduce battery life, cause a short circuit and even a fire. As published in The Journal of Chemical Physics by AIP Publishing, researchers at Caltech have found that heat might reduce dendrites, ultimately extending the usable lifetime of a rechargeable battery.

Batteries store and release energy by moving ions between the two electrodes, but because the ions do not always return correctly, small structures called dendrites can form. Over time the dendrites can grow, eventually connecting the two electrodes causing a short circuit. What the researchers observed is that when heated to 55 ºC, the dendrites could shorten by up to 36%. To understand why, they turned to computer models that showed the atoms in the dendrites moving around enough to cause them to topple.

This does not mean you should start baking old rechargeable batteries, as there are still a number of other variables to consider, but the researchers are going to keep investigating. Eventually this could develop into a way to keep our batteries working longer, just by adding some heat.

Source: EurekAlert!



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