Researchers at the University of Texas have managed to create a liquid metal battery capable of operating at 20 degrees Celsius, well below the 240 degrees Celsius usually required. Such batteries would be quicker to charge and much more durable.

Here is a discovery that could signal the end of lithium-ion batteries. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have just created a brand new fully liquid metal battery. Accumulators of this type already exist, but need to be heated to more than 240 degrees Celsius to prevent the metals from solidifying. In a study published in the journal Advanced Materials, the researchers describe their approach which works at only 20 degrees Celsius.

Most electronic devices use lithium-ion type batteries with solid electrodes. They lose capacity over time because dendrites form on the electrodes, which reduce the insulation between the anode and the cathode, and can eventually create a short circuit. This problem does not arise with liquid electrodes which are therefore much more durable.

Liquid batteries can be recharged faster. In addition, it is very easy to make it with different capacities and on different scales, simply by changing the amount of liquid. Researchers plan to adapt this technology for both portable accessories and electrical networks. With a minimum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, it will probably be necessary to further refine the concept to be able to use these batteries in winter …

Angie Mahecha

An fitness addict passionate about all things nature and animals, Angie often volunteers her time to NGOs and governmental organizations alike working with animals in general and endangered species in particular. She covers stories on wildlife and the environment for the Scientific Origin.