Rust-Busting Sound Waves to Extend Battery Lifetime by Three Times

By: | February 2nd, 2023

Image by RMIT University

Smartphones contain many precious and rare earth metals; they also hold a lot of toxic chemicals that are hazardous to the environment…yet recycling rates are very low. Billions of phones are hoarded in drawers and cupboards or thrown away rather than recycled

The high cost of recycling lithium and other materials from batteries is a major challenge.

To address this challenge, a team of researchers at Australia’s RMIT University is working with a nanomaterial called MXene that could extend the life of mobile phone batteries. So, rather than disposing of smartphones after two or three years, we could have recyclable batteries that last up to nine years.

MXene is a class of materials that has been touted as a faster-charging alternative to lithium for batteries

Though MXene holds immense potential, its practical adoption is constrained due to its oxidative susceptibility…it rusts quite easily in humid environments. This leads to significant performance deterioration and lifespan limitations.

MXene membranes are considerably thinner than a human hair. The current method of removing the surface oxide from its surface is quite difficult and it also limits the use of this material in its original form.

The RMIT researchers used sound waves at a certain frequency for just a minute to remove rust from MXene to restore it to close to its original state.

The innovation can revitalize MXene batteries every few years to extend their lifetime.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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