There is an ongoing discussion in the vaping industry about the lithium-ion batteries used to power vape mods. In most cases, the discussion focuses on creating a safer and more efficient alternative. A famed scientist who helped to create the Li-ion chemistry could be poised to move portable power technology forward with the introduction of a solid state battery for use in vaping devices, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
The Man Behind Your Vape Batteries
John Goodenough is an award-winning scientist who is best known for identifying the lithium cobalt oxide compound. The mod you probably have in your hand right now works, in part, thanks to Goodenough’s discovery. Lithium cobalt oxide is used to create the cathode in Li-Ion batteries that are used to power vaporizers. You can also thank Goodenough for powering your mobile phone and that nifty new tablet.
You might be thinking that imprinting your name on the most-used electronic gadgets in the history of mankind is the kind of legacy a man can rest on, and you’d be right. Especially when the man in question is 94 years old. Goodenough is not one to rest on his laurels, however, and he has continued his work at the University of Texas in Austin where he also teaches mechanical engineering and materials science.
Few of those who know Goodenough were surprised when he announced in early March that he’s developed a new solid state battery that boasts three times the power of Li-Ion models. In addition, the scientist claims that solid-state batteries are ultimately safer for use in electronic devices.
Is the Solid State Battery the Future of Vaping?
John Goodenough seems to think that his new solid-state batteries have the potential to change not only the vaping industry but mobile electronics as a whole. This news comes at a critical time when Li-Ion batteries have fallen under criticism that is somewhat unfair in the wake of isolated safety failures. While faulty batteries and the accidents they cause do make the news from time to time, the fact is that Li-Ion batteries have a decent reputation for safety.
All power cells carry some risk of venting or explosion, and Li-Ion batteries are no exception. When the risk is weighed against the actual number of battery failures, however, the incidents are so minimal as to warrant little concern by the average consumer. Still, it is encouraging that Goodenough and his partner, Maria Helena Braga, have addressed safety issues in the development of solid-state batteries. Specifically, they have created a battery which prevents the growth of dendrites.
Dendrites are hair-like metal strands which can develop in Li-Ion batteries. These dendrites can then cause a short circuit to occur. Goodenough’s solid-state battery model eliminates this possibility because it depends upon glass as opposed to liquid to provide the electrolyte required for charging and discharge.
Another benefit is the cost efficiency of sodium compared to lithium. The extraction of sodium from seawater, one of the world’s most vast resources, is less complicated than harvesting lithium for use in batteries. What this means for the consumer is that the cost of batteries could come down, although Li-Ion batteries have maintained a reasonable price point since Goodenough introduced them to the world.
Finally, Goodenough contends that solid-state batteries could offers as much as three times the power capacity and delivery that Li-Ion units. This is sure to please vapers who are always in search of a battery with a bigger mAh rating, longer life, and shorter charging times.
The Availability of a Solid State Battery for Vaping
The reality is that the scientific world moves at its own pace. Inventing a new battery for vaping devices is just the first step in a long process that will require testing and approval. It took ten years for Goodenough’s Li-Ion batteries to be made commercially available. Nevertheless, the benefits to companies like Apple in addition to brands in the vaping industry could spur a faster adoption of this new technology.
Until the solid-state battery becomes available, take heart and comfort in the fact that Li-Ion batteries do a superb job and present limited risk. One of the benefits of living in a today’s society is that many intelligent researchers and scientists are always working to improve existing technology. The reason scientists like Goodenough are able to make new discoveries is that they refuse to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The best discoveries do not reinvent the wheel, they improve it. All the information suggests that solid-state batteries could do exactly that.