How to Better Understand the Limits of Current Batteries

Is not great to hold to an outdated cellphone after their warranty has expired, many of all in regards to the cellphone battery. Without any warning, our very dependable smartphone would without explanation show us the sad news that only 1 percent of their battery power remains, resulting in a frantic search for a charger, staying for a longer time inside the car waiting for the cellphone to charge, or running to our house for a quick recharge before the screen goes completely black.

Regardless of our most common complaints, there’s an important reason why the latest lithium-ion batteries most of us carry in our mobile phones are very frequently used in almost every single personal laptop computer, tablets, garden and power tools, our shiny new electric car and my personal iPhone battery, and many other portable tools and devices.

Greater Density

It is possible for us to achieve take advantage of a greater energy density when we use a lithium-ion battery, far beyond any other kind of battery on the marketplace today.

This high level of power implies the battery could storage a lot of energy in a fairly reduced storage space.

That’s beneficial for allowing our gizmos to be very small and thin, our power tools to operate for longer times and our battery-powered cars to be less heavy than before.

The Need to Improve

Nevertheless, we are always improving on laptop and cellphone designs, and the battery inside each of these devices is no exception. Batteries must improve each cycle, and as the funnel to each new smartphone improvement, they must do so quickly. Not only is a requirement for new power-hungry features, also are part of the dream of each user to minimally charge their phones and still be able to use it for days, if not weeks.

If you remember chemistry well, you will know that an electric battery creates charge from the flow between its anode and cathode. One direction charges the battery, while the other one, releases the charge.

In recent batteries, the cathode is built using a variety of metals, oxygen, but principally, lithium, with one of the most popular combinations being the lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide.

The anode in the other hand, is usually build using graphite. Graphite, as you might know, is also used in pencils. Past are the days of cobalt and tin, and in the future, maybe silicon and carbon will be used to create better anodes.

Finding the perfect and more efficient components is half the battle to improve the density storage of a single battery.

There is a lot of promise with the use of silicon, which could at least in theory, hold more electrical charge than older compounds, but so far are not able to do it without gaining volume or losing stability.

Optimizing the Design

When taking a look at the future research of battery components, it’s appealing to state the obvious, lithium-ion innovation is very much optimized and the real advancement in batteries will come from a new design rather than a new set of chemical compounds.

For example, an easy scenario of which is the basic design of the battery’s style remains in need of improvement is this: both ends, the cathode and the anode can never, under any circumstance, touch. Even a quick touch will mean an explosion. That is why every battery has a separator what only allows the lithium ions to pass. Any improvements in size to this separator design, could mean more space to store power, but at this time, more risk of an explosion.

Because lithium-ion batteries for the most part are not as safe as other different battery designs, this is a place where a lot can be improved. Better knowledge of each chemical setting inside the battery can enable researchers to eliminate repetitive security procedures.

General Motors, for example, enormously design the cooling features of the battery to satisfied its guarantee specs. Allowing to surround the battery with less cooling options will not only make the battery more affordable, but you may likewise have even less parasitic components and allow you to place more material, at a much greater power benefit.

The expression, when talking about batteries, parasitic volume refers to any component not being used to store power. The perfect battery would be 100% power storage, and 0% parasitic volume. Obviously, this might not be possible as any current battery needs sensors and other mechanisms to ensure cooling, security and peak performance.

Our capability to read the measures as to how batteries carry out stays much more fundamental than we may originally expect, even though we find them everywhere. Is possible that my cellphone’s quick and unusual dash to the black screen had not been so uncommon ultimately.


Finding Out How Much Charge Remains

We could easily determine temperature, the battery’s voltage, and that’s about it. We could quantify the current streaming immediately. Nevertheless, knowing exactly how much charge remains in the battery is not that easy.

Without having that capability to properly determine the staying charge, researchers have to guess ways to increase efficiency in a battery. Promoting more enhance component parts that could fit inside the battery is just one entirely option, although that solution opens a new set of tough scenarios.

From the component’s viewpoint, it is very challenging to place miniature probes inside a battery and wish for these to last a very long amount of time. Even more a problem since the environment around these small probes is extremely chemically corrosive. A different issue, is that you’re using up an area that should be utilized to collect power for the different devices.

Better Software

The last opportunity to make batteries work better and longer lies in creating software application to much better handle the battery, saving each charge cycle and extending its general lifespan.

Companies have gotten truly excellent at switching off processors they don’t require, turning on the ones they desire, and entering into sleep setting. Forcing more energy-saving chips inside our cell phones belongs to the challenge.

But the standard obstacle of battery design always goes back to the chemistry. It’s not just a concern of selecting the best materials, but likewise of grappling with the truth that no matter how you design a lithium-ion battery, it implies positioning an unpredictable, uncertain chemical world inside your cell phone, laptop, or vehicle.

That uncertainty requires the careful design of security functions within the battery, but it also suggests lithium-ion batteries still secure a few of their tricks.

But at the end, you still responsible to take good care of your cellphone battery. It is important to understand its limitations and to know exactly how to charge your battery.


Scientists understand sufficient to look fairly confident that generally there’s not a heap that may be done to improve the general structure of lithium-ion batteries, however there could still be a lot left to undertake on the edges.

That it’s still an up in the air question of how easily we can see what all those margins are.

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