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Monday, November 18, 2013
Researchers Create Self-healing Batteries

Researchers at Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a battery electrode that can heal itself.

Lithium-ion batteries are able to hold a lot of energy while the battery is charging, lengthening its life. However, these batteries are featuring silicon electrodes, which don't last very long.

A team of researchers have managed to repair the damage of the silicon electrodes. Inspired by nature, the scientists apply self-healing chemistry to silicon microparticle (SiMP) anodes to overcome their short cycle-life. According to a paper published online on Nature, the scientists showed that anodes made from low-cost SiMPs (~3-8 µm), for which stable deep galvanostatic cycling was previously impossible, could have an excellent cycle life when coated with a self-healing polymer. The scientists attained a cycle life ten times longer than state-of-art anodes made from SiMPs and still retained a high capacity (up to ~3,000 mA h g−1).

Cracks and damage in the coating during cycling can be healed spontaneously by the randomly branched hydrogen-bonding polymer used.

Using their self-healing polymer, the research team got the electrodes to survive through 100 charge-discharge cycles without losing its ability to store electricity.

However, there is more work that should be done. What the scientists have acieved is still quite a way from the goal of about 500 cycles for cell phones and 3,000 cycles for an electric vehicle.

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