Solid State Batteries – Smaller, stronger, and safer

What are solid state batteries ?

According to Samsung, a lithium-ion battery is composed of cathode, anode, separator and electrolyte. A lithium-ion battery applied at smartphones, power tools and EVs uses liquid electrolyte solution. On the other hand, solid state batteries use solid electrolyte, not liquid. 

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, have a separator that keeps cathode and anode apart, with liquid electrolyte solution. A solid-state battery uses solid electrolyte, not liquid electrolyte solution, and the solid electrolyte plays a role of a separator as well. Solid state batteries can provide a solution for many of the problems associated with liquid Li-ion batteries. This includes flammability, limited voltage, unstable solid-electrolyte interphase formation, poor cycling performance and strength.

Here’s a video that explains it:

What users most worry about a lithium-ion battery is safety. The current Li-ion battery has a risk of battery damage such as swelling caused by temperature change or leakage caused by external force since it uses liquid electrolyte solution. Therefore, we need devices or components that can improve safety. 

However, solid state batteries with solid electrolyte shows improved stability with a solid structure, and increased safety since it maintains the form even if the electrolyte is damaged. 

Image courtesy of The Verge

The Current Focus of Solid State Batteries

The current focus of solid state technology is the auto industry. This is because a solid-state battery can increase energy density per unit area since only a small number of batteries are needed. For that reason, a solid-state battery is perfect to make an Electric Vehicle battery system of module and pack, which needs high capacity. 

For the healthcare industry, however, solid state technology would enable smaller implants that recharge faster. This could have an incredible impact on medical device manufacturing and design.

Currently, the batteries that are mainly used for medical implants are not as small as convenience would dictate. Rechargeable batteries would be ideal for implanted devices, but historically patients have shown a low level of compliance when asked to charge them. There have also been other problems with rechargeable battery technologies, such as the liquid electrolyte used in lithium-ion technology having the potential to burst into flames.

A solid state battery uses a solid electrolyte that is safe for patients, meaning that they don’t need to have the bulkier metal packaging used by other batteries. They also have other advantages, such as a quick recharge time of around 10 minutes, which should offer a solution to the problem of patients neglecting to recharge batteries. The combination of a high energy density and a thin packaging means that these batteries can be made much smaller while providing a similar amount of energy.

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