Monday, September 22, 2008

Carbon Nanotube Supercapacitors

Carbon nanotubes are awesome. Supercapacitors are awesome. When you put the two together you get awesomeness, Nanotube Supercapacitors.

Physorg is reporting: research by post-doctoral Researcher Jiyoung Oh and Research Scientist Mikhail “Mike” Kozlov at UT Dallas’ NanoTech Institute offers tantalizing insights into a new, lightweight, reliable means of delivering power via the mighty supercapacitor.

What does this mean? A supercapacitor is like a battery, except it doesn't store electricity through a chemical process. Instead it holds the a charge between two surfaces. Traditional Capacitors store a charge between two metal surfaces, called plates.

At the scale of a Nanotube many of these surfaces can be packaged together in a small area to create extremely high energy density. 

The exciting prospect of supercapacitors is the potential for using them as a replacement for conventional chemical batteries. Supercapacitors are advantageous to chemical batteries for many reasons: fast charging time, efficiency, weight, functional longevity, and enviromental impact are several of the advantages that supercapacitors hold over conventional batteries.

Of the applications that hold promise for supercapacitors, the use in electric and hybrid vehicles is likely to get the most attention. 

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