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article imageNew aluminium battery charges phone in just one minute

By James Walker     Apr 7, 2015 in Technology
Scientists have created a new battery that is capable of fully charging a smartphone in just one minute. Made of aluminium, it could replace today's lithium models in the future and is billed as being much safer too.
The battery was created by scientists at Stanford University. They published their report in the journal Nature.
The vast majority of batteries used today in phones, tablets and laptops are made of lithium. These have been known to catch fire though, a major safety issue when used in devices like mobile phones that often reside in their owners' pockets.
The researchers say that their aluminium battery is far less prone to igniting and is also more environmentally friendly. This makes it much easier to dispose of without being potentially harmful.
The battery is made of two electrodes. The negatively charged anode is made of aluminium while graphite is used for the positively charged cathode. The team "accidentally" discovered that graphite had suitable properties for use in the positive terminal.
The battery can also be bent and folded, increasing the potential of flexible electronic devices becoming mainstream in the future.
Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford, said to the Stanford News: "We have developed a rechargeable aluminum battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames. Our new battery won't catch fire, even if you drill through it."
Of most note to consumers will be the vastly decreased charging times though. A typical lithium-ion phone battery will be charged in around three hours. The team's aluminium model charged the same amount in just a minute.
Another important factor is the lifetime of the battery. Most people notice decreased battery life as their phone ages and lithium batteries typically only last 1,000 charging cycles. The aluminium unit survived 7,500 cycles without a notable capacity loss.
Although aluminium batteries aren't likely to be powering our phones any time soon, the technology is an exciting look into what we can expect from our devices in the future. With charging times of just a minute, running out of power may not be such a serious issue ever again.
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