Researchers at the University of Southern California, led by Professor Chongwu Zhou, replaced graphite with porous silicon nanoparticles in anodes of lithium-ion batteries to come up with a new design. The battery, which could be available in two to three years, has a longer life and charges more quickly than lithium-ion batteries used now. (Source: Mingyuan Ge & Chongwu Zhou/USC)
Jack, that's not a spec or a standard, just a handle that immediately gives a picture of how long a battery charge lasts in a cell phone app, based on what the app is used for, in this case, talking. I suppose you could say "video watching time" if you had a battery-powered video player. I don't even know if the term is still in use. Back in the day I used to do the same kind of monitoring you describe on my Mac laptop, although it now comes with preset options for Battery vs AC Power, and switches automatically depending on whether it's plugged in.
Ann, I didn't know about the "talk-time" term either. Is there a standard for calculating it? I pay more attention to monitoring the battery hours on my laptop, so I know that there are a whole bunch of things that can affect that (brightness, software being run, communication devices, etc.). I would think that there would need to be a certain standard combination of those types of inputs for comparison across products.
Yes, it would be great if they could overcome what you note is a long-time hurdle. This would be a great invention, particularly for the future of electric vehicles and could overcome any remaining hurdles to adoption. It's good to know at least that some very clever people are looking at the problem in new ways.
Nice story, Liz. Let's hope this technology reaches its potential. Material scientists have tried many lithium-ion chemistries over the past 20 years and short cycle life has often been a problem. Lithium-sulfur, for example, has offered high energy but has had problems getting past about 50 cycles. Most automakers are looking for a minimum of a thousand cycles. Some are looking for 2,000 because they want some margin for warranties. Let's hope these engineers can do it.
Thanks for posting this: potentially really good news. And yes, it's helpful to use two different terms for total lifespan and length of charge. In cell phone batteries, the latter is called "talk time."
Yes, you're right, TJ...tricky wording there...It depends on what you mean as longer lasting. The battery will run out more quickly but it will continue to be charged and recharged longer, and apparently they are working on the design so it will eventually be longer lasting in both respects. Sorry for the confusion...I should have worded it more clearly.
When you think of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, you may imagine complex humanoid contraptions made of metal and wires that move like a Terminator Series T-90. But what actually happened at the much-vaunted event was something just a bit different.
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