Over the last few decades, mobile electronic technology has increasingly become essential to the everyday lives of most people. Whether it's your smartphone, laptop, or electric car, a substantial portion of your life is most likely battery-powered.
In November 2017, Samsung and its partners revealed that they were developing a way to make graphene-infused batteries with the ability to charge at absurd speeds — up to five times faster than traditional batteries. The batteries could also have up to 45-percent greater energy capacity than current iterations. A multitude of other companies are also using graphene to transform the future of batteries and the world that they power, proving that graphene materials may indeed fuel the next revolution in technology.
The Problem with Traditional Silicon
As mobile technology has become more ubiquitous, the need to charge batteries quickly has become increasingly important. The problem is that the quicker you zap a battery full of energy, the more likely it is for internal damage to occur.
Essentially, the electrons flowing into a battery as it charges will slowly damage the conductors that attract the electrons. The faster you pump in those electrons, the more damage they cause. Coating the conductors with high-tech graphene materials has a twofold effect: it makes the conductors more resistant to damage, and it makes them more conductive. That means that faster charging speeds are more reliably possible, as are higher energy capacities.
Why Is Fast-Charging and High-Capacity So Important?
The time it takes for batteries to charge is one of the biggest bottlenecks when it comes to current battery technology. For example, you need your car ready to go at a moment's notice to get to work or run errands. Likewise, smartphones and laptops have become essential tools in most people's work and social lives, so you need them ready to go at all times as well. Most people don't have time to wait around at home for hours while their electric car, smartphone, and other electronic devices charge up.
The ability to charge up car batteries quickly means that electric cars will be able to increasingly replace traditional gasoline vehicles. People will no longer have to worry about being late for work or social events when their electric cars can charge up in the same amount of time it takes to stop at the gas station. Similarly, higher capacity batteries mean that driving range will become less of an issue. People will no longer have to worry about running out of battery power on a long commute or short road trip.
As graphene materials continue to advance, the future will become even more battery-powered. Houses will be increasingly fueled by solar energy with huge battery packs to last through the nights and cloudy days. Wearable technology such as smart watches and glasses will transform the way people interact with the Internet via augmented reality. Obviously the future is impossible to predict, but it's looking like graphene will play a major role in how it's shaped.