Joe Knows Tech: IUPUI research team finds way to make rechargeable batteries last longer

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – In a research lab on the campus of IUPUI, one research team has solved a problem more than 40 years in the making, making rechargeable batteries last 10 times longer.

The man behind this breakthrough is professor of mechanical engineering Jian Xie. The problem with lithium ion batteries is the fact that over time the buildup metal-like deposits, also known as Dendrite, collects on the bottom and top of the battery.

In the middle is where the energy is stored, on the outside is where those deposits sit. The deposits grow like trees and eventually connect, which cause the battery to stop working. But this is where the professor’s research team has figured out something different that will solve the the problem. Instead of stopping the growth, they control it.

“If we cannot stop the growth, why don’t we just let them grow but we control the growth dendrite direction,” said Xie. “That way we can control their behaviors not allow them to go through, penetrate the separators but rather we control them to grow into a dense packed lithium metal layers.”

What this means is soon we could see paper-thin cell phones or electric cars that last 10,000 miles on one charge.