Self-healing Lithium-Ion Battery – Creating Endless Possibilities for Manufacturers


The invention of the first self-healing battery electrode will lay the foundation for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.

A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery containing lithium-ions that move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharging and back when charging.  When the battery charges and discharges, silicon electrodes inflate and deflate, causing cracks which wear the battery down.

The self-healing lithium-ion battery has a stretchy polymer that coats the electrode, binds it together, and spontaneously heals the tiny cracks that develop during battery operation. The polymer was created in 2013 by a team from Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. It incorporates an elastic material that is electrically conductive due to carbon nano particles present in it.

By developing a self-healing battery, scientists have opened a whirlwind of new possibilities for electronics manufacturers, which in turn will help drive the sales of lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-Ion-battery

Use of lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries have diverse applications spanning various industries such as the consumer electronics, industrial, and automotive.  In the last few years, there has been a phenomenal increase in the use of these batteries because of the proliferation of laptops, cell phones, smartphones, tablet PCs, and e-books.

Continuous use of devices using lithium-ion battery requires frequent recharging of the battery. This has led to increase in demand for durable and efficient rechargeable batteries. The development of self-repairing capability for lithium-ion batteries will prolong the battery life of these devices.

Improvements to lithium-ion batteries could extend the range of applications of these devices. The automotive industry is expected to benefit greatly from improved lithium-Ion battery performance as more and more electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are incorporating them.

Advantages of lithium-ion batteries

  • Variety of types available: Because each industry that uses lithium-ion batteries has different requirements, there are several types of lithium-ion cells and batteries.
  • Low maintenance: The lithium-ion batteries do not require any maintenance to retain their performance, and they keep their charge for a longer time as compared to other rechargeable batteries.
  • No requirement for priming: Some rechargeable cells need to be primed when they receive their first charge, but there is no such requirement for lithium-ion cells and batteries.
  • Self-discharge: Lithium-ion batteries’ rate of self- discharge is lower than that of other kinds of batteries. 
  • High energy density: Lithium-ion batteries and cells have a high energy density which makes them suitable for electronic equipment, electric vehicles, and power tools.

Disadvantages of lithium-ion batteries

  • Cost: Lithium-ion batteries are expensive which limits their use in mass-produced consumer items.
  • Ageing: Lithium-ion batteries suffer from ageing. Not only is the aging process time dependent, but it is also dependent upon the number of charge/discharge cycles that the battery has undergone.
  • Transportation: Certain restrictions can be placed on the transportation of lithium-ion batteries, especially by air. Although the batteries taken in aircraft carry-on luggage are unlikely to be affected, care should be taken not to carry more lithium-ion batteries than are needed. Batteries carried separately must be protected against short-circuit by protective covers.
  • Protection required:   Lithium-ion cells and batteries are not as robust as some other rechargeable technologies. For example, they require protection from being overcharged and from being discharged too much. In addition, they need to have the electric current maintained within safe limits. Accordingly, lithium-ion batteries require protection circuitry incorporated to ensure they are kept within their safe operating limits.

Blogger: Unum Shafiq

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