Batteries That Last Forever Could Be Near
We all have daily problems with technology, but how many of us can fix them?
Mya Le Thai is a scientist studying at the University of California, Irvine. She recently discovered a process that may result in batteries that last forever. VOA Learning English spoke with Thai about her discovery.
Thai said she had been frustrated that the batteries for her wireless devices degrade. Over time, they fail to charge fully.
Thai did not like to have keep her wireless laptop connected to an electrical outlet.
She decided to do something about that problem.
At first, she and her team at UC Irvine thought about inventing a new battery. But as they experimented, Thai discovered something that might permit lithium-ion batteries to last forever.
Lithium-ion batteries power most wireless devices. Over time, the batteries lose the ability to hold a charge. Most of these batteries have a life span of about 7,000 charging cycles before they die.
One of the reasons lithium-ion batteries degrade is their use of nanowires to carry electricity. Nanowires are extremely thin. A human hair is thousands of times thicker, for example.
Nanowires are extremely efficient carriers of electricity, which makes them useful in batteries. But Thai said their thinness also makes them weak.
"Nanowires break and fracture over time," she said. "That's why they lose capacity."
But, Thai had a theory: The nanowires might last longer if covered with a gel. She and the team tested her theory.
"It was a long process and a lot of work," Thai said.
The team tried many coverings for the wires. PMMA was one of them.
The nanowires were coated with PMMA and cycled through charges 200,000 times. The PMMA coated nanowires showed no evidence of damage.
The results suggest that batteries could last forever, without losing charging ability. Thai said 200,000 cycles amount to about three months on just one device.
Thai hopes to continue her research to understand why this gel works so well and to see if any other gel could create better results.
Mya Le Thai told VOA she is enjoying the publicity about her discovery. She said she never expected her research to get media coverage.
"It's kind of cool," she said. "I'm really glad people are showing interest in my work and not just in the work itself, but also in technology and energy."
I'm Caty Weaver.
1.wireless device 无线设备
Each wireless device generally runs a browser to display received information.
2.covered with 覆盖...
My teenaged nephew's face is covered with zits.
3.coated with 涂有
Streets are coated with steely ice.
4.media coverage 媒体报道
Encourage media coverage of the task forces.
1.She recently discovered a process that may result in batteries that last forever.
result in 导致；结果是
Hard work will result in success.
Compulsion will never result in convincing them.
2.Thai did not like to have keep her wireless laptop connected to an electrical outlet.
connected to 与...连接
He's connected to all the right people.
I'd like to be connected to your person who handles sale.
米娅·莱·泰是加州大学欧文分校的科学家 。近日，她发现了一项可让电池永久使用的技术 。VOA英语学习栏目就此发现采访了她 。
泰表示，因无线设备的电池退化问题她十分苦恼 。电池使用时间一长，就会出现电充不满的问题 。
起初，她与加州大学欧文分校的团队打算发明一种新型电池 。但在实验过程中发现，某种物质可以让锂离子电池永久使用 。
大多数无线设备都用的是锂离子电池 。但是这种电池使用时间一长，蓄电能力会下降 。大多数锂离子电池可充电7000次左右，直到使用寿命结束 。
锂离子电池利用纳米线输送电流，这成为电池退化的原因之一 。纳米线极其纤细 。纳米线比人的头发丝细千倍 。
纳米线可以高效地输送电流，因此在电池中发挥着巨大的作用 。而泰表示，纳米线过于纤细，因此也很脆弱 。
她说：“纳米线用久了会折断或破裂” 。“这就是为什么电池的充电能力会逐渐退化” 。
但是，如果用胶包裹纳米线，那么它的使用寿命可能会变长 。泰与团队成员对这一推测进行了试验 。
他们尝试了各种覆盖纳米线的物质 。其中包括聚甲基丙烯酸甲酯（PMMA） 。
覆盖PMMA的纳米线可支持充电20万次 。此外，PMMA还不会损害纳米线 。
实验结果证明，这种电池可以永久使用且不会丧失充电功能 。泰称，20万次充电周期相当于给一台设备充电3个月 。
米娅·莱·泰告诉记者，自己的发现能够引起公众的注意她非常开心 。她表示，没想到媒体会报道自己的研究成果 。
“感觉还不错”，她说 。“很高兴人们对我的工作感兴趣，不仅仅是对工作本身，还有科技和能源领域” 。