OUTLASTING THE ENERGIZER BUNNY: US researcher creates stronger batteries with cheap materials

Houston – VIJAY SHAH via noticiasdelaciencia.com and AgroAlimentando

Batteries are one of the most important elements of our technologically driven society. We rely on them to energise everything from children’s toys and torches, to cars and lorries, yet often they can be the bane of our lives too. Batteries can have their drawbacks, such as catching on fire, running out too quickly, leaking, and performing poorly in wintry weather.

Recently, researchers led by Dr. Yan Yao at the US’ University of Houston have discovered that manufacturing batteries from a new and inexpensive class of materials may help solve the problem of troublesome lithium ion batteries and the like.

 

Yao and team used quinones, a type of chemical organic compound derived from petrochemicals which are easy to obtain and cheap. These recyclable materials were converted into a stable anode compound, which can be used in the manufacture of water-rechargeable batteries. Water-chargeable batteries contain water-based electrolytes that carry current easily, but unlike conventional batteries, do not corrode. Until recently, these kinds of batteries were only really good in the laboratory environment, as their short shelf life made them impractical for situations where replacing the battery regularly is inconvenient, such as in heavy machinery. Despite their short lifespans, water-rechargeable batteries, also known as aqueous-rechargeable batteries are much safer and are more robust.

The main problem with previous models of water-rechargeable batteries has been their anodes, one of three parts in a battery, that is negative when the battery is discharging, and then switches to a positive charge when the battery is being charged up. The anodes in these previous models were intrinsically structurally and chemically unstable, which means that the battery was only efficient for a relatively short period of time.

Yan Yao and the researchers used quinones, which cost as little as $2 (£1.54) per kilogram. They discovered that anodes made from quinones were effective in both acid and alkali batteries as well as newer water-based models using metallic ions. This diversity of usage means that Yao’s technology could be applied to any battery setting for any technology, including for devices not yet invented.

The quinones also help batteries work at a wide range of temperatures, which gives Yao’s batteries an advantage even over other existing aqueous rechargeable battery technology, which still underperforms in cold conditions.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Alejandro Shammah‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/aleshammah

“Baterías con vida más larga gracias a una clase de materiales baratos” – noticiasdelaciencia.com via Agroalimentando – AgroA http://agroalimentando.com/nota.php?id_nota=7753&utm_content=buffer2de86&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Duracell battery AA type” – Anton Fomkin, Flickr (19 November 2008) https://www.flickr.com/photos/antonfomkin/3046002213

 

Advertisements

SAMSUNG SUR40: The future of the office?

Tables and technology…they are not your usual bedfellows. While technology is forever updating, reinventing itself with every coffee-and-biscuits brainstorm at Sony-Ericsson or Google, Inc., a table is something that has not changed in centuries. Putting it at its simplest, it is a flat surface with four horizontal legs. Nothing whizz-kiddy about that. Until relatively recently, the nearest a table got to being computerised was if someone came along and plonked a PC monitor and some wires on top. Maybe even a tablet!.

tmp_UWHS-Samsungs-SUR40-for-Microsoft-Surface_thumb841994204

Our technologically-driven and media-hungry society means that even the humble table is now being propelled screaming into the 21st century. As people desire a more technology-centric existence where the internet, documents, pictures etc are always on hand and easily accessible, the fake pine dinner table may soon find itself relegated to a dusty shed or the local charity shop.Interactive coffee tables have already been making special appearances at numerous fairs and expos, setting tech and gadget-watchers’ tongues collectively wagging.

Korean electronics giant Samsung is already leading the way with its range of televisions, PC screens, and is now heavily dominating the smartphone market with its Galaxy and Note offerings. The super-boffins in Seoul did not just stop there. They took a ordinary boardroom table, applied some high-tech knowhow, added a 40-inch PC with touchscreen and gave birth to the SUR40. A chief executive’s dream machine.

According to Shortlist magazine, the SUR40 is a forward, but relatively simple concept. The widescreen PC that serves as the tabletop is 4 inches thick, supported by what HEM presumes to be toughened aluminium or stainless steel legs that look like they were hastily borrowed from a Argos television stand. The touchscreen is made from patented ‘Gorilla Glass’ from Corning – the same fingerprint-proof tough material Samsung used for the Galaxy SII and SIII. In fact the screen is sufficiently strong to support a whole round of office teas.

The software inside the ‘table’ is very much au courant. PixelSense gives the LCD screen the ability to detect with infrared signals any object placed on or near the table, enabling a user to hold a video or Powerpoint presentation, flip it around and zoom in, using just a couple of fingers. The SUR40 can even read text placed face-down on the surface, making it ideal for saving and distributing documents to the whole team at your company’s weekly sales analysis.

(c) SlashGear

The SUR40 means no more costly and clunky projectors and laptops being carried from one room to another. It would have a positive impact on the environment too, as offices no longer have to prepare paper handouts for distribution to colleagues at meetings. As companies become increasingly keen on their green credentials and aim to save trees, the SUR-40 may be a high-demand item to help support corporate social responsibility objectives.

It could also be a feature of university seminars and may revolutionise teaching in schools . The cost however is a bit prohibitive. On online retailers like jigsaw.com SUR40s are selling for £9354.00 a piece, which includes the easy-to-attach legs, so you might want to hold to your desktop just a little longer. It requires some dexterity too, with Shortlist describing it as “akin to conducting an orchestra”. Its simple no-frills design and usability however could soon see it making an appearance at an AGM near you…and hopefully not at a branch of Barnardo’s.

See the Samsung SUR40 doing its stuff:

samsungs-next-gen-microsoft-interactive-surface-first-look-1cwfo2hXP6T2k