A student accidentally created a rechargeable battery that could last 400 years.

There's an old saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

There's no better example of that than a 2016 discovery at the University of California, Irvine, by doctoral student Mya Le Thai. After playing around in the lab, she made a discovery that could lead to a rechargeable battery that could last up to 400 years. That means longer-lasting laptops and smartphones and fewer lithium ion batteries piling up in landfills.



A team of researchers at UCI had been experimenting with nanowires for potential use in batteries, but found that over time the thin, fragile wires would break down and crack after too many charging cycles. A charge cycle is when a battery goes from completely full to completely empty and back to full again.

But one day, on a whim, Thai coated a set of gold nanowires in manganese dioxide and a Plexiglas-like electrolyte gel.

"She started to cycle these gel capacitors, and that's when we got the surprise," said Reginald Penner, chair of the university's chemistry department. "She said, 'this thing has been cycling 10,000 cycles and it's still going.' She came back a few days later and said 'it's been cycling for 30,000 cycles.' That kept going on for a month."

This discovery is mind-blowing because the average laptop battery lasts 300 to 500 charge cycles. The nanobattery developed at UCI made it though 200,000 cycles in three months. That would extend the life of the average laptop battery by about 400 years. The rest of the device would have probably gone kaput decades before the battery, but the implications for a battery that that lasts hundreds of years are pretty startling.

"The big picture is that there may be a very simple way to stabilize nanowires of the type that we studied," Penner said. "If this turns out to be generally true, it would be a great advance for the community." Not bad for just fooling around in the laboratory.

This story originally appeared on GOOD.

Share image: Steve Zylius/University of California, Irvine.

Heroes

Jameela Jamil is a gift to the world. The Good Place actor is a tireless champion for the body positive movement and has no problem calling out other celebrities for hawking dangerous diet products. She has come for the Kardashians, Iggy Azaelia, and even Cardi B (brave), and she WILL come for you if you use your massive platform to promote products that dangerously encourage young girls to lose weight. So consider yourself warned.

At the center of these controversies is a company called Flat Tummy Co., which markets diet and detox (read: diarrhea) teas, mainly to young women and girls. According to their website, these products have "not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration." And apparently the company wasn't satisfied with their teen consumer base and decided to expand....by marketing to pregnant women.

Reality star Amber Rose, who is currently pregnant, shared an ad yesterday for a Flat Tummy Tea product that is specifically geared towards helping pregnant women stay thin and "not bloated." Hell, while we're at it, let's put the baby on a diet, too, shall we!!!??? This might seem like an episode of Black Mirror, but I assure you, it's not. Here's the ad:

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared

If you wonder why the LGBTQ community holds Pride parades, look no further than Grayson Fritts.

If you don't know who Grayson Fritts is, here's a brief intro:

He's a pastor. He's a police officer. And he is on video screaming from the pulpit that the government should kill gay people.

That's not an exaggeration.

In a video of a fist-pounding sermon at All Scripture Baptist church in Knoxville, Tennessee, Fritts said that police should round up people at Pride parades, put them through a quick trial, and then put them to death.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Even when the competition is fierce, winning at friendship is more important than winning a game.

A viral video is making people feel alllll the good feelings, which we could frankly use more of these days.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Prince Harry isn't just a member of England's royal family - he's also a new dad. He and Duchess Meghan of Sussex welcomed Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor into the world last month. He joins William and Kate's three offspring (George, Charlotte, and Lewis) as royal grandchildren. I assume he's being accordingly spoiled with elaborate titles, jewels, and small islands.


Keep Reading Show less
Family