Wonderful Engineering

The University Of Tokyo Has Developed Self-Repairing Batteries

If you look at the batteries that are being used to power the world of today, two factors stand out the most; the capacity of the battery and its longevity. We want batteries that have a higher capacity and can last longer. Research teams all over the world are working on these two elements, trying to enhance the batteries. A team of engineers at the University of Tokyo have come up with self-repairing batteries.

Currently, we rely on sodium and lithium-ion batteries. Both variants are powerful; however the repeated cycles of charging and discharging can hamper with their lives while reducing the storage capacity that they offer over time. The team, under the leadership of Professor Atsuo Yamada, came up with a solution in the form of self-repairing batteries. These self-repairing batteries not only are able to boast a longer life but also provide higher capacity as well.

Batteries are comprised of layers of the metallic material, and during the charging-discharging cycle, the layers tend to give way and eventually cracks are developed that are known as stacking faults. These faults greatly affect the ability of the battery to store and deliver power. The degradation stacking happens because the material is being held together by Van der Waals force – a weak force. This force can be overcome by the stress that the batteries are subjected to during charging and discharging. Professor Yamada and his team came up with a new material that can withstand this stress and have utilized it for creating self-repairing batteries.

According to the team, if a battery is crafted using the model material -oxygen redox-layered oxide (Na2RuO3) – the degradation ceases to exist, but the layers are actually able to self-repair themselves thus the name; self-repairing batteries. This happens because Na2RuO3 is held together by a force that goes by the name of the coulombic attraction, and is actually much stronger than the Van der Waals force.

Rechargeable Li-ion battery with power plugs connector. Isolated on white background 3d image

Professor Yamada said, ‘This means batteries could have far longer life spans, but also they could be pushed beyond levels that currently damage them. Increasing the energy density of batteries is of paramount importance to realize electrified transportation.’ What do you think of these self-repairing batteries? Do let us know!