Self-repairing batteries

May 16, 2019

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a material which could significantly extend the life of batteries and afford them higher capacities as well.

From smartphones to pacemakers and now even cars, batteries power much of our world and their importance only continues to grow. There are two particular aspects of batteries that many believe need to improve to meet our future needs. These are the longevity of the battery and also its capacity - how much charge it can store.

The chances are your devices use a type of battery called a lithium-ion battery. But another kind based on sodium rather than lithium may become commonplace soon. Both kinds of battery can store and deliver a large amount of charge, thanks to the way constituent materials pass electrons around. But in both lithium and in sodium batteries, repeated cycles of charging and usage can significantly reduce the storage capacity over time.

If you could see inside a typical battery, you would see layers of metallic material. As batteries charge and discharge, these layers degrade and develop cracks or flakes - called stacking faults - which reduce the batteries' ability to store and deliver charge. These stacking faults occur because the material is held together by a weak force called the Van der Waals force, which is easily overwhelmed by the stress put on the materials during charging and use.

Yamada and colleagues demonstrated that if the battery is made with a model material - oxygen redox-layered oxide (Na2RuO3) - then something remarkable happens. Not only does the degradation from charge and discharge cycles diminish, but the layers actually self-repair. This is because the material the researchers demonstrated is held fast by a force called coulombic attraction, which is far stronger than the Van der Waals force.

"This means batteries could have far longer life spans, but also they could be pushed beyond levels that currently damage them," said Yamada. "Increasing the energy density of batteries is of paramount importance to realize electrified transportation."
-end-
Journal article

Benoit Mortemard de Boisse, Marine Reynaud, Jiangtao Ma, Jun Kikkawa, Shin-ichi Nishimura, Montse Casas-Cabanas, Claude Delmas, Masashi Okubo and Atsuo Yamada. Coulombic self-ordering upon charging large-capacity layered battery electrodes. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09409-1

Supported by a JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Specially Promoted Research (No. 15H05701).

Related links

Yamada & Okubo Laboratory - http://yamada-lab.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/

Graduate School of Engineering - http://www.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/soee/index.html

Research Contact

Professor Atsuo Yamada
Department of Chemical System Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering,
The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656 JAPAN
Tel: +81-3-5841-7295
Email: yamada@chemsys.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Press Contact

Mr. Rohan Mehra
Division for Strategic Public Relations, The University of Tokyo
7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654 JAPAN
Tel: +81-3-5841-0876
Email: press-releases.adm@gs.mail.u-tokyo.ac.jp

About the University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is Japan's leading university and one of the world's top research universities. The vast research output of some 6,000 researchers is published in the world's top journals across the arts and sciences. Our vibrant student body of around 15,000 undergraduate and 15,000 graduate students includes over 2,000 international students. Find out more at https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/ or follow us on Twitter at @UTokyo_News_en.

University of Tokyo

Related Batteries Articles from Brightsurf:

New research says Sodium-ion batteries are a valid alternative to Lithium-ion batteries
A team of scientists including WMG at the University of Warwick combined their knowledge and expertise to assess the current status of the Na-ion technology from materials to cell development, offering a realistic comparison of the key performance indicators for NBs and LIBs.

Fast calculation dials in better batteries
A simpler and more efficient way to predict the performance of batteries will lead to better batteries, according to Rice University engineers.

Building the batteries of cells
A new study, led by Dr. Ruchika Anand and Prof.

Researchers create a roadmap to better multivalent batteries
Lithium-ion batteries power everything from mobile phones to laptop computers and electric vehicles, but demand is growing for less expensive and more readily available alternatives.

New NiMH batteries perform better when made from recycled old NiMH batteries
A new method for recycling old batteries can provide better performing and cheaper rechargeable hydride batteries (NiMH) as shown in a new study by researchers at Stockholm University.

Seeing 'under the hood' in batteries
A high-sensitivity X-ray technique at Berkeley Lab is attracting a growing group of scientists because it provides a deep, precise dive into battery chemistry.

Better, safer batteries
For the first time, researchers who explore the physical and chemical properties of electrical energy storage have found a new way to improve lithium-ion batteries.

New catalyst provides boost to next-generation EV batteries
A recent study, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has introduced a new composite catalyst that could efficiently enhance the charg-discharge performances when applied to metal-air batteries (MABs).

New lithium batteries from used cell phones
Research from the University of Cordoba (Spain) and San Luis University (Argentina) was able to reuse graphite from cell phones to manufacture environmentally friendly batteries.

Safe potassium-ion batteries
Australian scientists have developed a nonflammable electrolyte for potassium and potassium-ion batteries, for applications in next-generation energy-storage systems beyond lithium technology.

Read More: Batteries News and Batteries Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.