Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have discovered a clever way to make a certain type of electric car battery work even better.
They used heat and pressure to upgrade a type of battery called a solid state battery and it worked like a charm!
So what is a solid state battery?
Unlike regular batteries, which use a potentially hazardous liquid, solid state batteries use a safe solid material to help carry electricity.
When the battery is charging or working, tiny particles called ions move between two points (called electrodes) through this solid helper (also called electrolyte).
The ORNL team found that tiny air gaps in the solid electrolyte can sometimes block ion flow.
To solve this problem, they developed a clever technique: they spread the electrolyte on a press, heated it, and then allowed it to cool while still being pressed. This special pressing technique eliminated the tiny air gaps, making the solid electrolyte super soft and allowing the ions to pass through.
According to Marm Dixit, the team’s lead scientist, this process doesn’t change the material used in the battery, it just improves the way it’s made.
The best part?
This method actually charged the battery twice as fast, and the solid material supported the flow of electricity nearly a thousand times better.
These discoveries could revolutionize the way solid electrolytes are made in factories and bring us one step closer to safer and more reliable batteries for electric vehicles.
All of this exciting research is detailed in a recent article in the journal ACS Energy Letters.
So next time you use an electric car, keep this in mind – it could simply be powered by a charged battery, enhanced with some heat, pressure and scientific ingenuity!
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.