Aluminium-Celmet promises major battery boost

29 Jun 2011

New material could increase capacities by up to three times

A new material dubbed 'Aluminium-Celmet' promises to boost mobile battery life up to three times, with small-scale production starting now and mass production on the horizon.

The material, developed by Sumitomo Electric Industries, is based on a technique where plastic foam is covered with an electrically conductive coating which is then nickel plated and the excess foam removed. The resultant material is like a conductive sponge, with a claimed 98% porosity and a three-dimensional mesh-like structure that makes it ideal for use in batteries.

While the company's existing nickel-based Celmet is efficient, the new Aluminium-Celmet promises to take the technology to a new level. Thanks to reduced weight - with aluminium featuring a specific gravity around one-third that of nickel - and reduced electrical resistivity - less than half that of nickel - Aluminium-Celmet promises some major capacity gains for batteries that choose to implement it.

Due to increased corrosion resistance compared to nickel-based Celmet, Aluminium-Celmet is suitable for use in lithium-ion batteries, as used in smartphones, laptops, and even electric vehicles. With Sumitomo claiming that a simple material swap-out in favour of Aluminium-Celmet can result in a capacity increase between 1.5 to 3 times, the company's technology promises to be a major boon for the burgeoning electric vehicle industry.

The relatively simple basis for Sumitomo's creation means that production has already begun on a small-scale basis, with mass production soon to follow.

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