A new aluminum-ion battery is cheap, bendable and could be able to charge smartphones in less than a minute. The battery is among one of the latest experiments conducted by a team of Stanford scientists.
This new type of battery is described by its makers as being much safer than the alternatives on the market (the lithium-ion and alkaline batteries). Researchers also mentioned that their product wouldn’t catch fire.
Hongjie Dai, chemistry professor at Stanford University explained that they created a rechargeable product “that may replace existing storage devices”, like the alkaline batteries which are known for their harmful effects on the environment or the lithium-ion ones which can “occasionally burst into flames”. As professor Dai explained, their new product won’t ignite “even if you drill through it”.
Aluminum has been considered a possible battery material for some time now as it can bring many benefits. The material is cheap, with a very low flammability level and powerful charging capacities.
The aluminum-ion battery is made out of two electrodes: an aluminum anode, characterized by its negative charge and a cathode which is charged positively. According to Dai, scientists tried to develop cathodes made out of various materials. He said they stumbled upon the idea of a graphite cathode by mistake:
“We accidentally discovered that a simple solution is to use graphite, which is basically carbon. In our study, we identified a few types of graphite material that give us very good performance.”
Dai’s team set the anode and the cathode together with a ionic liquid electrolyte which, according to Stanford graduate student and also co-lead author of the experiment Ming Gong , is simply a salt solution at room temperature (so it presents zero dangers). The scientists took all three components and placed them in a pouch coated with malleable polymer.
So aluminum batteries are safer than what is currently available in stores.
The team also noticed that aluminum batteries can offer “unprecedented charging times”, even less than a minute. While other aluminum prototypes developed in other studies lasted throughout 100 charge-discharge cycles, the battery developed by the Stanford scientists has a resistance of more than 7,500 cycles. And this is without losing any of it capacities.
Another quality is its flexibility so it could be used even in flexible electronic devices.
With so many pluses, the aluminum-ion battery will surely and quickly infiltrate the market.
Image Source: Phys.org