Student scientist accidentally invents batteries that will last forever

A student scientist has accidentally invented a way to make batteries last forever. The discovery could lead to laptop, smartphone and tablet batteries that last forever.

Oops.

PhD student Mya Le Thai, was "playing around" with lithium batteries, when she accidentally discovered a way of making them last forever, without losing any capacity.

The problem with batteries

In a paper, Mya explained that her and her colleagues were testing nanowires (made of gold, and thousands of times thinner than a human hair) within lithium batteries. The problem with these nanowires is that they are extremely fragile, and after repeated discharging and recharging they tend to grow brittle and lose charge more quickly.

This is essentially why you're thinking of charging your phone right now, even though you only just charged the damn thing a few hours ago.


SCIENCE!


"Playing around"

Mya was "playing around" with the batteries, and accidentally stumbled across a way of making your batteries last forever, by coating the nanowires in a manganese dioxide shell and then placing it in a Plexiglas-like gel.

"Mya was playing around and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer." Reginald Penner, the University of California at Irvine UCI's chemistry department said.

"She discovered that just by using this gel she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity. That was crazy, because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most."

The battery was tested more than 200,000 times over three-months, losing no capacity or power whatsoever.

This could mean that you never have to upgrade an old phone due to loss of battery.

"The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option," Mya explained.

"This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality."

Mya playing around with lithium batteries could lead to commercial batteries that last forever, for anything from phones to cars and even spaceflight.

Time to start messing around with electrical equipment.


*Please do not mess around with electrical equipment.

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