Illinois researchers are trying to create a self-healing battery

Dive Brief:

  • Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in an effort to create longer-lasting, higher capacity batteries, are working on applying self-healing technologies to battery chemistry, Midwest Energy News reports. 

  • The researchers are using their work on plastics to explore how nanoparticles bind and come undone in an effort to create batteries that can hold a charge longer and recharge more quickly.

  • The researchers published a study in Advanced Energy Materials that says their experimental technology made it possible for a lithium-ion battery to retain 80% of its initial capacity after 400 charging cycles.

Dive Insight:

Self-healing technology is being looked at for everything from cell phone screens to airplane wings. If it can be successfully applied to battery technology, it could lead to more robust batteries.

“Silicon has such a high capacity, and with that high capacity, you get more energy out of your battery, except it also undergoes a huge volume expansion as it cycles and self-pulverizes,” Nancy Sottos, a professor of materials science and engineering and one of the lead researchers on the project said in a statement.

For instance, silicon is being explored as an alternative to graphite based anodes, but silicon expands so much, that the anode would eventually disintegrate. If silicon were able to be transformed into a self-healing material, that could open the door to higher capacity and longer-lasting batteries.

“The idea was to try to take some of the self-healing work we’ve done in plastics and bring it into the battery world, because batteries do have all these reliability issues,” Sottos told Midwest Energy News.

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Filed Under: Energy Storage Technology
Top image credit: AES Energy Storage