A new solid-state battery surprises the researchers who created it

Engineers created a new type of battery that weaves two promising battery sub-fields into a single battery. The battery uses both a solid state electrolyte and an all-silicon anode, making it a silicon all-solid-state battery. ...


A more efficient way to find a more efficient battery

The pace of progress in the renewable energy sector is limited not only by the technology to capture energy from the sun, the wind, the oceans or the Earth's radiant heat, but also by the ability to effectively store and ...

Energy & Green Tech

Electric gains in battery performance

A high-performance version of the zinc-ion battery will enable stationary energy storage that promises to be cheaper, safer and more environmentally friendly than lithium-ion batteries.

Energy & Green Tech

Scientists develop new technique for large-scale energy storage

The sale of electric vehicles (EVs) has grown exponentially in the past few years as has the need for renewable energy sources to power them, such as solar and wind. There were nearly 1.8 million registered electric vehicles ...

Energy & Green Tech

Designing better batteries for electric vehicles

The urgent need to cut carbon emissions is prompting a rapid move toward electrified mobility and expanded deployment of solar and wind on the electric grid. If those trends escalate as expected, the need for better methods ...

Energy & Green Tech

Solid-state batteries line up for better performance

Solid-state batteries pack a lot of energy into a small space, but their electrodes are not good at keeping in touch with their electrolytes. Liquid electrolytes reach every nook and cranny of an electrode to spark energy, ...

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In chemistry, an electrolyte is any substance containing free ions that make the substance electrically conductive. The most typical electrolyte is an ionic solution, but molten electrolytes and solid electrolytes are also possible.

Commonly, electrolytes are solutions of acids, bases or salts. Furthermore, some gases may act as electrolytes under conditions of high temperature or low pressure. Electrolyte solutions can also result from the dissolution of some biological (e.g., DNA, polypeptides) and synthetic polymers (e.g., polystyrene sulfonate), termed polyelectrolytes, which contain charged functional groups.

Electrolyte solutions are normally formed when a salt is placed into a solvent such as water and the individual components dissociate due to the thermodynamic interactions between solvent and solute molecules, in a process called solvation. For example, when table salt, NaCl, is placed in water, the salt (a solid) dissolves into its component ions, according to the dissociation reaction

It is also possible for substances to react with water producing ions, e.g., carbon dioxide gas dissolves in water to produce a solution which contains hydronium, carbonate, and hydrogen carbonate ions.

Note that molten salts can be electrolytes as well. For instance, when sodium chloride is molten, the liquid conducts electricity.

An electrolyte in a solution may be described as concentrated if it has a high concentration of ions, or dilute if it has a low concentration. If a high proportion of the solute dissociates to form free ions, the electrolyte is strong; if most of the solute does not dissociate, the electrolyte is weak. The properties of electrolytes may be exploited using electrolysis to extract constituent elements and compounds contained within the solution.

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