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One of the most frustrating things about owning a smartphone is that despite the vast array of technological bells and whistles now found on current models, long-term battery life can still be a problem.
Arguably, the one of the main reasons why many individuals are forced into switching their phones every couple of years is the battery degradation.
Sure, many users do also claim better specs and software as an alibi for buying a new device, but most people carrying a phone that’s a couple of years (or even one year) into its lifespan will likely say that their batteries don’t last for as long as they used to.
As a result, many of them are forced into carrying power banks or charging their devices multiple times a day, and often, this is even enough to compel them to opt for a completely new device – pretty wasteful and a detriment to the environment in the grand scheme of things.
But now, researchers in Japan may have just discovered a solution to the problem.
As detailed in the ACS Applied Energy Materials journal, a research team from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) have been looking at a new material that could extend the lifespan of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries like the ones used in smartphones.
In a press release, the team were noted to be studying the properties of a new binder for graphite anodes, which form the negative terminals in batteries. These negative terminals, when combined with cathodes (positive terminals) and electrolytes, all form an environment conducive for electrochemical reactions that are involved in the charging and discharging of the battery.
Graphite anodes, however, require a binder to prevent it from degrading with each use. In current Li-ion batteries, the binder used is made up of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), which possesses multiple qualities that still make it a subpar material for long-term use.
To tackle this problem, the team have now identified a new material that could possibly be used as a binder for graphite anodes.
Called bis-imino-acenaphthenequinone-paraphenylene polymer, or BP polymer in short, the material offers better mechanical stability and has a number of qualities that summarily prevent graphite anodes from wearing out as quickly as when bound by PVDF.
They last much longer.
To translate these perks into numbers, Professor Noriyoshi Matsumi – the lead scientist behind the study – said that “whereas a half-cell using PVDF as a binder exhibited only 65 percent of its original capacity after about 500 charge-discharge cycles, the half-cell using the BP copolymer showed a capacity retention of 95 percent after over 1,700 such cycles.”
Putting that into real-world terms, the lifespan of a Li-ion battery increases dramatically. In the typical scenario of an everyday smartphone, this equates to the battery being able to retain its maximum charge capacity for up to five years before noticeable signs of degradation begin appearing.
IMAGE: Nord Holding AD
In the end, the team hopes that the results of their research will lead to more battery-powered consumer devices with considerably longer shelf lives, which in turn will result in the production of devices with higher quality components designed to last longer instead of being discarded every couple of years.
“The realization of durable batteries will help in the development of more reliable products for long-term use,” Matsumi said. “This will encourage consumers to purchase more expensive battery-based assets like electric vehicles, which will be used for many years.”
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Cover image sourced from Battery Doctor & Battery Life Saver-Battery Cooler and The Straits Times.
ที่มา : Mashable