These gut-inspired batteries can store up to five times more energy and last longer than the most commonly used lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are usually found in cellphones and laptops. According to Battery University, lithium-ion is currently the fastest growing and most promising battery chemistry because it is efficient and low maintenance. Despite all these, lithium-ion is fragile. There is also an issue about its capacity deterioration after few months.
Cambridge University researchers based in Vasant Kumar's team in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy together with some experts at the Beijing Institute of Technology, developed and tested a lightweight nanostructured material which can overcome the downside of the lithium-ion battery.
The new battery which uses a material similar to villi, the finger-like protrusions on the small intestine utilizes lithium-sulphur cell instead of the lithium ions. Lithium-sulphur battery has much higher energy density than the latter.
As in what happens normally, when the battery undergo several charge-discharge cycles, polysulphides is produced, leading to the degradation of the battery caused by the loss of material within it occurs, Indian Express reported. But the researchers have managed to find a way how to prevent this degradation.
As explained by WCCFTECH, biomimicry makes it possible. In human body, villi help the small intestine absorb nutrients from the food you eat by increasing the surface area the intestine has for absorption.
The prototype will function the same to delay the degradation of the battery. It will absorb the polysulphides in the electrolyte, slowing down the degradation process of the lithium-sulphur cell.
In addition, the villi in the battery are made of tiny zinc oxide wires. What is good about it is that the villi absorb the active electrochemical materials that dissolve from the electrode after a discharge cycle and reuse them.
"It's a tiny thing, this layer, but it's important," said study co-author Dr Paul Coxon from Cambridge's Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy in a press release. "This gets us a long way through the bottleneck which is preventing the development of better batteries."
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