US Navy creates zinc-based batteries less prone to exploding – SlashGear

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US Navy creates zinc-based batteries less prone to exploding – SlashGear

Lithium-based batteries are great, except when they’re not — these batteries are prone to catching on fire and exploding, hence many product recalls over the years. A safer alternative comes in the form of zinc-based batteries, but these aren’t popular due to the difficulty of recharging them. The U.S. Navy’s Research Laboratory is changing that with a newly developed 3D ‘sponge’ battery electrode made with zinc.

Though zinc-based batteries have issues with recharging, the technology is both inexpensive and safe, making it ideal for consumer-based and commercial products. In comparison to the conventional zinc powder-composite electrodes, the Navy’s newly developed 3D sponge electrode has ‘superior electrochemical properties,’ according to researchers. The 3D nature of the design enables current to be distributed ‘more homogeneously’ in the full electrode volume.

Researchers explain that this deals with a common zinc-based battery issue, namely dendrite formation during cycling. This could open the door to things like 3D solid-state batteries, according to the Navy; it also has applications in both disposable and rechargeable batteries, the latter of the two being a milestone for zinc-based battery technology.

In describing the application areas, the Naval Research Laboratory explains that its technology could be used in aqueous-alkaline battery chemistries, and that it can be used for high-power operation including ‘duty-cycle loads.’ As well, there’s a fused monolithic electrode structure that, says researchers, makes it possible to mold the structure into whatever form factor is needed for their particular application.

SOURCE: US Naval Research Laboratory


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