Tiny Tech #27: The Nanotechnology of Batteries

Today from the world of Tiny Tech:

Batteries are an amazing technology. Each battery is a little chemical reactor: when power is needed, the chemical reaction proceeds, and electricity is generated. When the chemical reaction ends, the battery is dead. Of all the kinds of batteries, lithium-ion batteries have the greatest energy per unit weight, which is why they are used in such things as laptop computers.

But up until a few years ago, lithium ion batteries were not as useful as they could be, because they were slow to release electricity and to recharge. What changed? Well, several companies are now using new designs to make lithium ion batteries based on nanotechnology. The new designs use small nanoparticles, so that the chemicals inside the battery have to travel only short distances to react. The shorter distances means the chemical reactions are faster, and faster reactions means the batteries are more powerful and are also faster to recharge. The new batteries are especially useful in electric cars and cordless power tools, which work better with batteries that can rapidly generate current and are rapidly recharged.

So, you may already be using batteries based on nanotechnology. I think we could all get a charge out of that.

Tiny Tech is made possible by the National Science Foundation and WUFT.  To learn more about Tiny Tech, go to tinytechradio.org.

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