Batteries come in many shapes, sizes and compositions. They have become so integral to our modern lifestyle – whether powering a mobile phone, or a satellite in orbit – that it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without batteries powering our devices and systems!
Batteries are also playing an increasingly important role in addressing climate change.
Sustainable energy sources (like solar and wind) can be unpredictable and so batteries can be used to store energy, helping to balance the supply and demand for electricity.
Build your own lemon battery to find out!
Download the worksheet below to learn about how batteries work to convert chemical energy into electricity (a type of energy produced by the flow of electrons). You will also find step-by-step instructions to make your own battery using lemons – check out the video to see how it’s done!
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Scientists all over the world are working to make batteries that are safer, cheaper and more powerful. One scientific tool that researchers can use to help with battery development is neutron scattering, which is performed at large, specialist facilities across the world. At these facilities, researchers can fire a beam of neutrons (neutral particles) or muons (sub-atomic particles similar to electrons – but heavier!) at a sample and, depending on the interactions, learn about the structures and motions occurring within a material.
Scroll down to read some examples of how neutrons are being used to create better batteries:
- Battery research: Using neutrons and X-rays to analyse the ageing of lithium batteries (ILL)
- Towards better lithium batteries (ILL)
- Cell with windows: New design in lithium battery research (MLZ)
- More battery, more energy revolution (MLZ)
- Structural Characterization of Oxyhalide Materials for Solid-State Batteries (BNC)
- Nanostructured multi-block copolymer single-ion conductors for safer high-performance lithium batteries (LLB)
- Batteries under the neutron stroboscope (PSI)
- Muon studies of Li+ diffusion in LiFePO4 nanoparticles of different polymorphs (ISIS)