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  • The Lithium ion battery has made our modern phones, laptops, and electric cars possible.

  • The secret is its ability to cram a lot of power into a tiny package, but for its inventor

  • John B Goodenough, that wasn't good enough.

  • Nearly 40 years after he helped create a battery that would change the world, Goodenough and

  • researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have announced they've invented a

  • new battery that sounds too good to be true.

  • Goodenough has a few issues with his old lithium ion battery.

  • It's still too weak, too expensive, and has the pesky habit of exploding from time

  • to time.

  • If a battery is charged too quickly, lithium tends to slowly build up through the liquid

  • electrolyte in long thin whiskers called dendrites.

  • If the dendrites get long enough to connect the positive and negative electrodes of the

  • battery, they can cause a short and you've got a surprise fireworks show in your pants.

  • So for the last few years Goodenough has wanted to make a battery with a solid electrolyte

  • instead of a liquid one.

  • Two years ago he found the research of Portuguese physicist Maria Helena Braga.

  • Braga and a colleague had invented a glass electrolyte, which means no dendrites, no

  • shorts, no pants on fire.

  • Braga and Goodenough have been working together in Austin ever since and the new battery they've

  • come up with is unlike anything anyone's seen before.

  • Along with the new glass electrolyte, the electrodes -that is the positive and negative

  • ends of the battery- are something entirely different.

  • In a lithium ion battery the positive electrode is made of a lithium metal oxide and the negative

  • side is made of a porous carbon.

  • When you charge it, lithium ions grab electrons and move through the electrolyte to the carbon.

  • When you discharge it, the lithium ions shuffle back, but the electrons they had don't make

  • the return trip.

  • They flow through your device instead, providing power.

  • But this new battery doesn't rely on storing ions in a lattice on one side, instead the

  • metal from the negative side travels across the electrolyte and coats the positive side,

  • creating a thin layer on top.

  • And that's got some people scratching their heads.

  • According to our understanding of conventional batteries, it's important that the two electrodes

  • are different materials, that's where the voltage comes from.

  • Remember the old potato batteries you made as a kid?

  • Stick a piece of copper in one side, and zinc in the other, and you've got a battery because

  • electrons flow from the zinc to the copper through your clock or GLaDOS or whatever.

  • If you stuck zinc and zinc, or copper and copper, nothing would happen.

  • Likewise with this new battery, once the positive side is coated with metal from the negative

  • side, the voltage should drop to zero.

  • So the fact that this battery even works is confusing other top battery experts.

  • It seems to be generating something from nothing, which is a big no no according to the laws

  • of thermodynamics.

  • But according to Goodenough, it doesn't just work, it works spectacularly well.

  • Compared to current batteries it can hold 3 to 10 times the charge, can be recharged

  • in minutes instead of hours, has a lifespan of over a thousand cycles, and doesn't go

  • boom in your back pocket.

  • It can be cheaper to make since it works with low cost sodium as well as lithium, and can

  • operate in temperatures from -20 degrees celsius up to 60 degrees.

  • This is exactly the sort of battery that would make an electric car a true replacement for

  • a gasoline powered one.

  • It's the sort of thing that would be hailed as a monumental achievement.

  • Or a hoax.

  • But it's hard to argue with Goodenough's credibility, I mean, this is the guy who helped

  • invent the modern lithium ion battery powered world, he's effectively the Li-ion King.

  • His colleagues don't believe he and Braga are pulling a fast one, heck they've even

  • applied for a patent.

  • And I checked and the paper wasn't published on April 1st.

  • So maybe this crazy battery works for some other reason we have yet to figure out.

  • Or maybe Goodenough's explanation that the plating is too thin to drop the voltage is

  • correct.

  • For something this promising with this kind of name behind it, more research is definitely

  • needed.

  • So do you think the new battery is the real deal or Goodenough is having one over on us?

  • Let us know in the comments and don't forget to subscribe.

  • All I know is a battery that lasts 3 times longer and takes minutes to charge sounds

  • amazing, but if I had practical wireless charging I wouldn't actually need it.

  • Trace covers Disney's latest crack at it here.

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  • And, if you haven't seen it, check out the actual video on SeekerVR!

The Lithium ion battery has made our modern phones, laptops, and electric cars possible.

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This New 'Perfect' Battery Has Experts Stumped

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/12
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