Taming Lithium

A thin film of carbon spheres is overlaid onto the lithium anode, taking care of the expansion of the anode as battery recharges and stopping the formation of dendrites. Credit: Stanford University

Lithium batteries are quite widespread since they represent the best compromise in terms of storage capacity and weight. Improving them any further has proved difficult.

Scientists know that one way exist: substitute the anode, today made in silicon or graphite), with one made of lithium. Unfortunately, the solution does not work in practice.

A lithium anode swells when the battery recharges and all around it the flow of electrons create a mesh of dendrites that creates shortcuts rapidly killing the battery.

Now, according to an article published on Nature Nanotechnology, scientists at Stanford have discovered a way to solve the problems posed by a lithium anode: they have managed to encapsulate the lithium anode with a sheet of carbon spheres. The sheet is sufficiently elastic to withstand the swelling of the anode during the battery recharge and avoid the formation of dendrites, thus avoiding shortcuts and the waste of the battery.

According to the scientists, a battery of this kind would provide three times as much capacity, which will significantly increase the life of your cell phone and will extend the reach of an electrical vehicle to 300 miles. That is equivalent to a full tank of gasoline.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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