New battery chemistry solution 'could enable longer-lasting medical devices'

Engineering

A new and unconventional approach to battery chemistry could have significant positive repercussions for the engineering sector.

Developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US, the new technique challenges the conventional view that a battery's three main components - the positive cathode, negative anode and ion-conducting electrolyte - can play only one role in the device.

“A new battery chemistry breakthrough could make its possible to develop medical devices with much greater longevity in future.“

Their device uses the electrolyte not only as an ion conductor but also as a cathode supplement, meaning the battery was able to generate a capacity 26 percent higher than its theoretical maximum if each component acted independently.

This could translate into years or even decades of extra life, which could be highly useful in the design of artificial cardiac pacemakers, radiofrequency identification devices, remote keyless system and sensors in future.

Chengdu Liang of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory said: "If you have a pacemaker, you don't want to undergo surgery every ten years to replace the battery. What if a battery could last 30 to 50 years? Our fundamental research is opening up that possibility."

During 2012-13 in England, more than 40,000 people had a pacemaker fitted, making it one of the most important treatment avenues for heart disease sufferers.

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