The rechargeable cells still work even at –70° C
A new type of battery can stand being left out in the cold.
This rechargeable battery churns out charge even at –70° Celsius, a temperature where the typical lithium-ion batteries that power many of today’s cell phones, electric cars and other devices don’t work. Batteries that withstand such frigid conditions could help build electronics that function in some of the coldest places on Earth or on space rovers that cruise around other planets.
Inside lithium-ion batteries, ions flow between positive and negative electrodes, where the ions are embedded and then released to travel back through a substance called an electrolyte to the other end. As the temperature drops, the ions move sluggishly through the electrolyte. The cold also makes it harder for ions to shed the electrolyte material that gloms onto them as they cross the battery. Ions must slough off the matter to fit into the electrode material, explains study coauthor Xiaoli Dong, a