Technology

Futuristic LC Batteries and the 20-Volt USB-C

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology is the go to technology for almost all consumer electronics nowadays. However, can we do even better, fortunately yes. Lithium-ceramic battery (LCB) is here to elevate expectations.

Also can one USB port or connector be used to charge everything? Since the introduction of the USB-C or USB Type-C back in 2014, this question is no longer theoretical. This new rounded connector is here to replace the common rectangular-shaped Type-A connectors found on most consumer gadgets on the market.

Lithium Ceramic Batteries

The lithium-ceramic battery was invented by Prologium, a battery manufacturer based in Taiwan. The LCB is a solid-state battery, meaning it uses solid electrolytes, compared to the liquid electrolytes found in Li-ion batteries. Since Li-ion batteries are believed to have reached their full potential (as in they cannot be improved upon any longer), solid-state batteries are considered to be the better alternatives.

The materials used to make the solid-state battery’s solid electrodes include, ceramic (in the case of LCB), lithium sulfide and glass. Right now, solid-state batteries are being used in a number of applications, such as wearable gadgets and pacemakers, and have a number of potential uses, such as electric cars and smart clothing.

By exchanging liquid electrolytes for solid electrolytes in lithium batteries, Prologium has invented next-gen batteries that can overcome the shortcomings of Li-ion batteries. Here are some benefits that make LCBs better for consumer devices:

Provide higher energy density

At their maximum, Li-ion batteries have a total energy density of about 600 Wh/L (watt-hours per litre) while solid-state batteries, like the LCB, can potentially reach 1,200 Wh/L, according to researchers at the University of Michigan. This means that these batteries can hold more charge and last longer than Li-ion batteries, making them perfect for making laptops and smartphones for people who travel a lot.

Do not explode

When a lithium battery shorts internally, it can light on fire. There are various things that can cause the battery to short, such as water, cuts and punctures. To compound this problem, lithium metal is highly combustible, meaning once the internal fire starts, the whole thing can easily go up in flames.

Prologium’s battery, however, can be bent, cut, folded, punctured and even dipped in water without it short-circuiting. Plus, the ceramic electrolytes do not burn, meaning manufacturers can harness the power of lithium metal without fearing the battery’s internal fire can cause it to combust. All this leads to a battery that does not explode.

Allow for smaller devices

No one can deny that batteries take up a significant size on many consumer devices. Thinner batteries mean manufacturers can make thinner devices, like cell phones and tablets, something which is sure to be a hit with consumers. According to Prologium, their battery’s cell size can be as thin as 0.38mm. This means the battery can even be mounted directly on the motherboard of the devices themselves.

As you can see LCB batteries are the perfect alternative to lithium-ion batteries since they can have higher energy densities, are safer (a fire-proof battery is a big deal) and can allow manufacturers to make thinner devices. Manufacturers of consumer gadgets need to take note and make use of this technology for the betterment of their customers.

The 20-Volt USB-C

When it comes to charging and transferring data, USB-C is taking the lead. In fact, researchers at IHS Markit have estimated that five million devices will have at least one USB-C connector by 2021. A majority of electronic devices that will have these connectors include smartphones, tablets, laptops, external hard drives and docking stations.

If you doubt the seriousness of the USB-C, just look at the new iPad Pro. Apple has its own proprietary connector called Lightning, and you will find it in a number of their products, such as iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Adapters and various accessories. For Apple to foregore a Lightning port in favour of the USB-C is a true testament to the benefits this technology provides.

The technology is gaining a lot of ground, but many people are still in the dark on what it is and what advantages it offers consumers. This is odd since it is found in a majority of the laptops, phone and tablets that are manufactured these days. It seems the days of relying on Micro USB and USB type-A as the dominant ports and connectors are slowly coming to end.

What is the 20-Volt USB-C?

To put it simply, the 20-volt USB-C is a USB type (not to be confused with standard or specification) with an oblong-shaped connector or port designed to connect and charge all devices. It is capable of producing 20 volts and 5 watts, allowing it to deliver 100 watts (when using the USB 3.1 standard). This is one of the biggest selling points of the technology that has manufacturers of consumer gadgets excited to adopt it.

What You Need to Know About the 12-Volt USB-C

The technology is capable of insane data transfer speeds. Due to the USB-C’s support for USB 3.1 and 3.2 standards, it can manage data transfer rates of 10-20 gigabytes, as well as significantly higher bandwidths. Now no one has to wait minutes to transfer large files – the transfer will happen in seconds.

Another big advantage is its small size. Manufacturers can now make their gadgets more compact. For example, with thinner USB ports, laptop manufacturers can make ultra-thin laptops. In fact, this is more evident with the thinner MacBooks that have been rolled out by Apple since they started putting the technology in its laptops.

Thanks to its oblong shape, the USB-C is easier to connect. How many times has anyone of us tried to connect a USB without looking, only to find that we are connecting it upside-down? Too many times. This has been the cause for many frustrations, and the USB-C eliminates that.

Since the 20 volts and 5 watts enable it to deliver 100 watts (20 multiplied by 5) of power, the USB-C type can be used to charge any device. Think about it: you have one charger that can be used to charge anything, whether it is a phone or power tool. Furthermore, this also has the added advantage of significantly speeding up charge times – this is better than the 5 volts and 1.8 amps (9 watts) of the previous type.

Current Major Challenges of the 12-Volt USB

Despite the advantages the technology offers, there are still a few kinks to work out.

One of them is how to safely charge phones with 20 volts coursing through the USB cable instead of the 5 volts they are used to. This can potentially cause the phone to overheat due to the high voltage, damaging the battery in the process. If the phone keeps overheating, it could become unusable.

Another challenge is allowing the 5 amps of current to pass through power bricks without needing them to be bulky. One way to do this is by increasing the internal diameter of the wiring so it can handle the increased current without increasing its size.

The 20-volt USB-C is here, and its advantages are too good to pass up, especially the ability to charge every device, fast charge and transfer data at lightning speeds. There is no denying there are some issues to work out, but the technology can only get better with time.

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