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Power Technology

Simple Chemical Trick To Boost Battery Efficiency 149

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
space_mongoose writes "Hitachi thinks that a simple chemical additive could significantly improve battery life. Alkaline batteries have a positive electrode of manganese oxide and a negative electrode of finely powdered zinc, but zinc oxide forms around these grains of zinc. Hitachi's solution is to replace the zinc with a fine powder of zinc-aluminum alloy, displacing the zinc within the zinc oxide layer making it a much better conductor."
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Simple Chemical Trick To Boost Battery Efficiency

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  • Cost-efficiency? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2007 @01:03AM (#19156829)
    Quite an obvious solution, I'm sure. And battery companies don't do it because they want your batteries to run out faster, so you'll buy more...

    Or maybe it's because this shit makes it more expensive than it would be to just replace the batteries more often?
  • by mpoulton (689851) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @01:07AM (#19156865)
    TFA is no longer than the summary, but based on the concept it appears that this would improve only the peak current capability but not the total capacity (mAh). In fact, if anything, the addition of aluminum which does not participate in the electrolytic reaction would decrease the capacity. Not sure this is a very useful development.
  • by markov_chain (202465) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @01:32AM (#19157045) Homepage
    I've given up on waiting. I'm thinking of building either a big NiMH pack out of D cells (10Ah at least), or just get a big sealed lead-acid. The former is light but expensive, the latter is heavy but dirt cheap. Run times close to a day!

  • Re:Costs? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:58AM (#19157521) Homepage Journal
    Well, thats the official rate, which is only as good as the methodology that is used to measure it, which I think is flawed. They measure a "basket" of goods and services plus take surveys on rent. However, this is only meaningful if how you spend your money is representative of the way they measure inflation. For example, in certain catagories of goods we are seeing either 0 inflation or deflation because of the huge influx of goods from China(on things such as plasma tvs) but meanwhile healthcare, energy, housing, education, and even food prices(which are the basics of life) are spiraling out of control. So unless you buy a lot of luxury goods, your personal rate of inflation is probably markedly higher than the one the Fed considers. And in the EU it's even stranger because they try to harmonize prices from different countries meanwhile the inflation picture can be markedly different, esp. on things that aren't tradable across borders such as housing. In addition you have countries like Germany that raised its sales tax 3% this year, and that pretty much automatically creates inflation....

    Just my 2 cents.
  • So riddle me this (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:06AM (#19158187)
    Why is it that so many things take, say 4AA batteries (alkaline or rechargeables) but when it comes to the wall wart, it wants ONLY 5.2V or 5.8V or 6V or ...

    Dire warnings and seventy-six versions of the same piggin thing with no real identifiable difference (so you have to hunt for the right one in the drawer) or ignore their prediction and stick a generic 6V wall-wart in it.

    So why do they take such varying voltage in the battery but not the wall-wart?
  • Re:why (Score:2, Interesting)

    by richard.cs (1062366) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:37AM (#19158351) Homepage

    It will just form the oxide layer anyway and impede current flow.

    Aluminium oxide dissolves in sufficiently strong alkali (it's the method used to prepare aluminium parts for anodizing). I don't know if the electrolyte in the battery is sufficient to do this but that might be the explaination.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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