The Key To Better Batteries Is…Styrofoam?By danseitz
Batteries: can’t live with them, can’t live without them. They pretty much run our modern world, but they take forever to charge, and sometimes don’t even discharge fast enough to power everything we need. Their efficiency is constantly improving, but with new plug-in hybrids and other uses, we need more efficiency, all the time.
And now we might have it thanks to…packing material?
OK, so scientifically, it’s a bit more complex than that. A team at the University of Illinois used polystyrene beads to adjust the porosity of the two main parts of the battery, thus increasing the surface area. Why is that important? Reaching into the depths of GadgetCrave’s vast scientific knowledge (a C- in high school physics) it’s because the more surface area you have exposed, you collect and discharge more electrons, and do it faster.
How much faster? Try 90% battery capacity in 20 seconds. Even better for industrial applications (i.e. cars), the discharge is equally quick. In other words, these are the batteries we’ve been dreaming of, with one small catch.
The size: these batteries are 25% bigger than their traditional counterparts. So you’re less likely to see these on your smaller gadgets for now, but this is science we’re talking about: if they can’t make it smaller, no one can.