In this fast-paced world, cell-phone and laptop charging can be a huge drag. Normally, most cellphones and laptops these days take well over an hour to get fully charged. However, Thomas H. Epps III, a professor from the University of Delaware, finds that it is actually possible to charge such portable electronic goods within minutes.
But what exactly is preventing the technology from being widely adopted?
First, it requires highly flexible, conductive, and light weight batteries. The batteries also need to be resistant to impact and be safe. With battery explosions happening every now and then, safety and durability has become very important these days. The most prominent examples in this direction are the bursting of Boeing Dreamliner’s auxiliary power units and Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
All such challenges are a result of batteries that have issues with safety and stability.
In order to overcome the issue in batteries made from lithium-ion, bettering the membranes of the batteries and their associated electrolytes is one option. Those are meant to transfer lithium ions that offset electrical charge associated with both charging and discharging of batteries.
At the University of Delaware, the Epps’ team has recently patented a new idea meant to enhance the performance of batteries by adding tapers into the electrolytes of polymer membrane which enable the lithium ions inside the battery to travel to and fro swiftly.
It is a big idea that begins with tiny parts. This is because polymers are materials made from small molecules that are gathered together like the beads in a necklace.