iOS 7 (battery empty 001)

An important breakthrough by Dr. Wang Changan of Tsinghua University and Dr. Li Ju of MIT promises to extend the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries that power today’s notebooks, mobile devices and other gadgets by a factor of four.

The unexpected discovery has the potential to allow for an all-week Apple Watch battery life while significantly extending run time between charges when using your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Mac notebook.

Remarkably, a team of forgetful researchers have figured out how to quadruple a li-ion battery’s lifespan literally by accident.

Basically, the researchers have managed to solved the problem of using aluminum for the anodes in the battery.

The traditional lithium-ion battery technology suffers from short lifespan stemming from the lithium compounds building up on graphite electrodes over time due to the anodes repeatedly expanding and contracting during the cycle of charging and discharging.

Lithium-ion usable lifespan

Over time, lithium compounds that build up on the electrodes break off, exposing the surface of the electrode. And when that happens, your battery’s capacity starts decreasing until it essentially becomes useless.

Apple Watch battery iFixit 002

That’s why every battery inside your MacBook or iOS device has a limited number of full charge cycles. Your iPhone’s battery, for example, is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles.

To find out your MacBook’s battery cycle count, read this tutorial.

Aluminum is the answer

Now, for a long time scientists have been pushing for the use of aluminum electrodes but couldn’t figure out how to pull it off as aluminum, as mentioned before, expands and contracts during the charging and discharging process.

As researchers focus on finding ways to stop the oxide coating from forming on the surface of aluminum nanoparticles when exposed to air, they thought about creating a new outer coating by soaking the nanoparticles in a sulfuric acid and titanium oxysuplphate mix.

This, they hoped, would dissolve the aluminum oxide and replace it with titanium oxide.


After forgetting to remove one batch of the nanoparticles from the soaking process for several hours, they made a startling discovery: the sulfuric acid and titanium oxysulfate mix dissolved some of the aluminum inside and left a 4nm outer shell of titanium hydroxide and an inner 30nm “yolk” of aluminum.

“The extra long soak meant the anodes did not expand and contract, in fact they created a battery that over 500 charge/discharge cycles retained up to four-times the capacity of the equivalent graphite anode batteries,” explains

Lithium-ion trickle charge
Screenshot via

“These batteries last considerably longer in terms of usable lifespan and, according to MIT, can hold up to three-times the energy.”

There was no word if this process can be easily applied to mass-scale manufacturing but it’s perfectly conceivable that much-improved lithium-ion batteries with at least four times longer lifespan could soon make their way into our iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.

Source: MIT via

  • disqus_aJ5gg8Z584

    Drake ft MIT – Charged Up

    • Ángel Javier Esquivel

      Tiësto Remix

      • Gerardo Castro

        ‘te lo sico jajaja

      • SNAILS bootleg

      • Ángel Javier Esquivel

        Hardwell Edit

  • z1n

    Chrisitian, I’m not so sure your part about the all-week watch etc. As far as I can see this doesn’t change the battery capacity, so your device won’t last any longer without the need to recharge. It just allows you to do more full charge cycles. Which means your iPhone battery won’t seem like it’s halved after a year of use. TL;DR:This technology will just allow us to extend the operational life of batteries, not increase the capacity.

    • Stijn

      the article says that can hold up to three-times the energy, and since the apple watch lasts 2 days (for me) thats almost a full week

      • z1n

        I don’t know, maybe I’m reading it or understanding it wrong. To me the linked article mentions an increase in capacity of the anode. How does this change the capacity of the lithium-ion cell?

      • z1n

        They also do mention increased battery life (not just cycle life) in the linked article. I’m just trying to understand how. They explain the part about improving the life-cycles well. Anyone care to explain how the capacity of the cell is increased?

      • Tommy Gumbs

        The source article states repeatedly “could.” As in theroticaly it could. This changes nothing for consumers in the immediate future.

      • Stijn

        Battery’s are one of the tech industry’s biggest problems, especially with wearable’s. If a company like Samsung will get on this it has the potential to be in a very near future phone, since it will be a massively better than any other company out there, and will be really quite revolutionary. (I chose Samsung since they can just throw the battery in an random phone, so that if it’s not working right it’s not a big problem as when it would be fitted in an iPhone 7)

      • dcohn

        The reality is, as I am sure many of you agree, that the technology exists for wireless electricity so “COULD” is for sure but WOULD they is the question. Using power similar to that of static electricity we could power all the lights and they would never burn out and the power would be free. Youtube has some very detailed information regarding research showing this as already possible.

        Once they figure out how to charge for wireless electricity it will be a reality. Tesla did it but had no need for small parts so surely there is work to be done.

        Do I sound like a wacko yet? If so I apologize.

      • Rowan09

        Not for the battery companies, they love the fact that people keep purchasing more batteries.

      • Walcy Carroll

        2 days that is pretty good, I have only tested mine from about 5am until midnight and still had close to 30-40% battery left, what is your typical usage, I might need to tweak mine a bit more…

      • Stijn

        I end the day with 70% if I just use it for notifications, and 60/50% if I do some exercise tracking and app usage. If I can’t charge it overnight I turn it off during the night which will save a lot as well. I advertising brightness on max, and all other energy using options on as well (hearth rate, taptic). The first day I had it was empty really quickly, you don’t have a normal usage pattern yet 😉

      • z1n

        The MIT article says the anodes can hold more. It seems like it’s just an interpretation in the reporting that it triples battery capacity. Where I’m confused is how a different anode changes the capacity of the lithium-ion cell?

      • Stijn

        If the anodes are smaller, you can put more of them in the same space, I don’t know if that is the idea behind it. It could also be that more electric particals are attached to the anodes

      • Shinonuke

        This is only a guess at explaining it in general sense. Not trying to sound like an expert or anything like that. As with anything that deal with energy, the efficiency of the delivering mechanismn of energy will have effect on usability and the amount of usability. If new anodes can increase efficiency of delivering electricity then the battery can be used longer. Example, if the current anodes have a 30% efficiency coefficient and the MIT can increase the coefficient to 40% then the battery can last longer because you’re able to delivery less electricity to do the same task. It would be great that we are able to use all of the electricity but we lose it through heat, resistance, etc. only process known in nature is the glycolysis of glucose.

    • You didn’t read the full article.

      • z1n

        I read both. Maybe you can explain how the lithium-ion cells have more capacity with these new anodes as opposed to graphite anodes?

      • I can’t explain it, I just know the article says it does. You seemed confused about whether it can or not.

      • Manuel Molina

        That’s a little harsh, seeing as he mention a few times that he read the article and is having some challenges understanding the entire thing. I get some of it, but until Bill Nye the Science Guy explains this in more common terms, it’s going to be a bit hard to completely understand this unless you want to explain it better.

      • It’s not the understanding. In the post I responded to, he completely missed the part where it says battery capacity is tripled. Seems like he read the title and maybe part of the article and didn’t get to that part. Not harsh at all to derive that conclusion.

      • :D

        “over 500 charge/discharge cycles retained up to four-times the capacity”

        Sounds like a lifespan improvement to me

      • z1n

        You assume I missed that part. I read that part. My argument still stands. I will get an answer eventually.

      • “As far as I can see this doesn’t change the battery capacity, so your device won’t last any longer without the need to recharge” is your argument. If you read that part, why in the world would you say “your device won’t last any longer.”

      • Manuel Molina

        Sounds like an assumption you’ve derived from in your conclusion, as he sounds just confused. The article says tripled capacity but mentions four times as well.

      • “As far as I can see this doesn’t change the battery capacity, so your device won’t last any longer without the need to recharge.”

      • Manuel Molina

        The guy did mention he read both articles and seems confused, thus why he wrote the comment that he did. You’re still assuming he didn’t read the article based on the fact that he clearly did not understand it. I’m not sure why you are going off on something so foolish. The fact was you wrote a comment to make someone feel stupid. It speaks a lot about your time and your value of commenting.

      • He was not confused. He wrote that one and after realizing the article does address his concern, he tried to flip the script and say he’s confused how it works. Went from saying “it doesn’t hold more capacity” to ” but how does it hold more capacity, I confuse!” Come on now…

      • Manuel Molina

        “Where I’m confused is how a different anode changes the capacity of the lithium-ion cell?”

        As you say “Nuff Said”.

      • Again, you quote a post in which I wasn’t replying to. I responded to his original post. Go read it and pull quotes from there. He changed up his story after I called him out on his bs. I’m tired of spelling it out for you.

      • Manuel Molina

        Lol. You need friends. Your calling someone bull shit for not understanding an article. Ha. You must sleep well as you call people on the Internet on their bs.

      • He didn’t read it bruh. What don’t you get? How can you read his op and even discern that? He tries to correct the author saying “it doesn’t increase capacity.” Then after being called out he says “well I’m cumfroozed how duz et wurk??”

      • Manuel Molina

        He was always confused and that’s why he said for someone to explain to him. But idk how this even matters. You were harsh and have been known to be so on comments as you are debating over something so pointless right now.

      • I’m not debating by myself.

      • Manuel Molina

        I wasn’t even debating 3 post ago. Lol. You kept going on and on. Good entertainment though. Thanks!

      • In just polite enough to give every reply a response. A minute here and there doesn’t hurt.

      • Shadowelite123

        If you’re actually reading his responses, which you’re clearly not, he’s asking how the capacity is tripled. He wants to know how. Yes he acknowledges that the articles say it’s tripled, but he wants to know how exactly. So instead of stalling, put your thinking cap on(if you have one) and answer his question. If you can’t, just step down from your self given alter and abstain from the conversation.

      • I only responded to his original post which was the only post at the time I posted. If you read it he says that the battery capacity is not affected. Then he goes on after me posted that he didn’t read it all the way through and changes his original thought. Relax homie. Y’all must be bff’s.

      • Shadowelite123

        He’s been constantly saying that he’s read both articles. You must be blind if you can’t see one, he’s merely asking for a detailed explanation on how the capacity is increased, and two, it’s common sense to base your argument on all statements on an original post and not just the original post. Also don’t go lying to anyone nor assuming anything. Get your ego out of your butt and go do something productive. Thanks.

      • You realize when I made my comment I was looking at all arguments, as there was only one and it said “the article is incorrect it doesn’t increase capacity,” even tho it clearly says it does. He asked for a detailed explanation AFTER he went back and read the article and saw that it did state the capacity also increases. His two arguments are completely different. 1. No battery capacity increase. 2. Oh ok battery capacity increase, then how? I r confruuzed. Brain hurts!?

      • Shadowelite123

        What part of “he’s asking how it increases the capacity” don’t you understand dude? You keep saying that you’re responding to the original post, but if you haven’t noticed, we didn’t start this little argument over the original post, we starters this little argument over how you refuse to acknowledge that he wants to know how the capacity is increased in detail. Stop being a massive idiot and learn to read because the fact that you still are stating that nonsense about the original post and you are avoiding responding to his question on how the capacity is increased is making you look like a hypocrite because you don’t even read what you and others post.

      • No, I was critcized hard for what I said to his op, then ppl are bringing up subsequent posts that have nothing to do with what I said because they DIDNT EXIST when I posted. He clearly did not read the article because he goes “hey I think you guys got it wrong, it does NOT increase capacity.” I make my response, he realizes it actually does, then switches to “ok maybe it does but I’m so confused, how?” Then influx of super friends to save the day. Lol. It’s comical. Foh.

    • :D

      I was thinking the same thing. I think idb might’ve just made a mistake there or something.

  • Manuel Molina

    So in other words, some dudes found out how to make batteries last longer, and if found to be proven 100 effective, there is a possibility we will see it hit in electronic devices in the near-future.

    • George

      They use the apple watch for example which nobody cares for.

      • Shadowelite123

        That’s not entirely true.

  • Well… Good news, I guess. Frankly though, we see these kind of “battery breakthrough” all the time, but none of them ever step out of the lab. Remind me again when there’s one we can actually *use* it.

    • Yeah they’ve had a few before. Have yet to see any come in actual practice yet.

  • Jordan Wright

    Another amazing “discovery” that no one will ever hear about again nor will it turn into a practical commercial application anytime.

    Sorry to sound cynical but it seems we hear about some new “breakthrough” every two weeks yet my devices seem to have the same Li-ion technology that they have had for the last decade….

    • Shadowelite123

      Lol I feel like you made a pun but I’m not sure XD

  • Guy

    Battery life the one feature that truly matters.

  • This Guy

    Everybody Wang Changan tonight!

  • Shadowelite123

    Exactly like there was this one girl who was able to make batteries charge in seconds and last a lot longer than today, but well where is her breakthrough now?

  • John Eriksson

    There is a lot of other products than apples that uses litium batteries… Cars, tools, all cell phones, all laptops, electrical bicycles just to mention some. why the hickup of apple products?