Battery life has always been the problem with gadgets these days and many a times we don’t find the time to charge our devices. However, scientist may have found a way to tackle this problem that too with the help of something we never though could come in handy for batteries–SAND.
Yes, you heard it right. The sand that we find on our beaches may soon be used for creating special lithium ion batteries that reportedly last three times longer than traditional graphite based ones. This essentially means, you may not have to charge your smartphone for around three days, which is quite impressive.
The article which was published in the Scientific Report Journal credits Zachary Favors, a student at the University of California, Riverside for coming up with the idea of using sand instead of graphite based anodes.
The idea came to him one day when he was resting on a beach after surfing. At that moment, he realized that sand was basically made of silicon dioxide, also known as quartz, which could make a great anode for lithium ion batteries.
He milled sand to the nanometer scale and purified it. Then he added ground salt and magnesium and heated the mixture. The resulting residue, which was pure silicon turned into a porous material, which is reportedly important for long lasting anodes. According to the journal, the porous nature of the material provides a large surface area for the fast moving lithium ions thereby increasing the performance of the battery.
And when they tested this silicon based anode on the battery, they found that it delivered threefold increase in performance. So, anything that worked for a day on the graphite based battery, now lasted for three days.
Currently, the team working on the project has developed a coin sized lithium battery based on this new anode and they are planning to make bigger batteries like the ones used in smartphones pretty soon. This innovation would also help improve the battery life and performance of electric vehicles. Moreover, as the battery itself is be environment friendly and non-toxic, consumers as well as companies should be excited to see products with this new sand based battery.
By the way, don’t expect such batteries to hit the markets anytime soon, as there will be a lot of tests and further research that may have to be carried out.
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