is one of those things that continues to frustrate us. How long have we been dealing with AA batteries that die out way too quickly? How long have standard sized notebooks been stuck with batteries that can't last over 3 to 4 hours in heavy use scenarios? Far too long in our estimation, and we're eager for a change. Of course, battery companies are in no hurry to make the items that they sell last longer; we suspect they'll want you to replace your battery as often as possible. But scientists, thankfully, have a different viewpoint, and they seem entirely more interested in improving the process rather than continuing on as things are.
Researchers Ibrahim Abou Hamad from Mississippi State University and coauthors have engineered a new charging method that relies on new developments in molecular dynamics simulations. The actual study is highly technical in nature, but it really boils down to this: they have discovered a way to significantly reduce the charging time of Li-ion batteries, which are widely used in everything from laptops to electric cars. For a more techy perspective, we're told that they have simulated the lithium-ion battery charging process by "simulating the intercalation (i.e. “insertion”) of lithium ions into the battery’s graphite anode," and in their testing, they found that "an additional oscillating electric field can lower this energy barrier, enabling lithium ions to intercalate more quickly into the anode."
The science behind the breakthrough
As for the future of the discovery? The team hopes to continue investigating the findings, and they'll be altering the frequency of the oscillating field in order to judge the effect on charging time. In a best case scenario, this could also provide a boost in battery power densities. Unfortunately, we doubt that this breakthrough will effect the batteries that we see on store shelves for some time to come, but we'll happy be proven wrong!