Two-Dimensional “Hybrid Separator Membrane” Boosts Lithium Batteries’ Lifespans

Designed to allow lithium ions to flow but prevent dendrites forming, this material could be key to longer-lasting, safer batteries.

Scientists at Friedrich Schiller University, Boston University, and Wayne State University have found a means to considerably boost the lifespan of rechargeable batteries — using a hybrid membrane to prevent dendrite formation.

Rechargeable batteries are undeniably useful, but while they’re usable far more times than a standard alkaline battery they do come with a finite lifespan. As they’re discharged and recharged, lithium dendrites form — tiny needle-like structures which eventually short-circuit the battery, piercing the separator membrane and potentially even starting a fire.

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