They say that necessity is the mother of invention. But what they don’t say is inspiration attracts the brave. Some of the most genius inventors around the world achieved success by simply being “lucky – and courageous”. And in the case of Mya Le Thai, a doctoral student at UCLA, this is definitely what happened. After running several tests in her laboratory, she discovered a rechargeable battery that can last 400 years.
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Such a battery would definitely help in the development of smartphones and laptops and far fewer lithium-ion batteries that have been constantly filling up landfills.
Doctoral Student At UCLA Discovers Rechargeable Battery That Can Last 400 Years By Accident
This discovery of a rechargeable battery that can last 400 years was made in 2016. Unfortunately, there were no further known developments. This discovery came as a team of researchers at the University had been conducting some major research on the potential utility of nanowires in batteries. What they did find was that the fragile, thin wires would start breaking down over a period of time, and finally end up cracking after a few charging cycles.
The leader of the researchers, the doctoral student, Thai decided to coat an entirely new set of gold nanowires in manganese dioxide along with an electrolyte gel that resembled Plexiglas. After that, she started cycling the gel capacitors when they ended up making the breakthrough. Reginald Penner, the Chair of the Chemistry Department at the University commented that the thing had been cycling 10,000 cycles and didn’t look like it was about to stop. A few days later, the doctoral student mentioned that it had been cycling for around 30,000 cycles.
One would understand the significance behind Thai’s discovery when they realize that a battery for an average laptop lies somewhere around 300 to 500 charge cycles. The nanobattery that this doctoral student created went on for 200,000 cycles in just about three months. This definitely would extend the life of the average laptop battery by close to 400 years. No one would expect a laptop to be sustainable for such a long period of time- and every other part of it would have already succumbed to it- but the fact that this rechargeable battery would still be working- is quite startling.
Image credit: UCI