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New Material Can Store Vast Amounts of Energy

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the ok-let's-squash-more-stuff dept.

Power 253

ElectricSteve writes "Using super-high pressures similar to those found deep in the Earth or on a giant planet, researchers from Washington State University (WSU) have created a compact, never-before-seen material capable of storing vast amounts of energy. Described by one of the researchers as 'the most condensed form of energy storage outside of nuclear energy,' the material holds potential for creating a new class of energetic materials or fuels, an energy storage device, super-oxidizing materials for destroying chemical and biological agents, and high temperature superconductors."

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Extreme (0)

hcpxvi (773888) | about 4 years ago | (#32797554)

pressures similar to those found deep in the Earth or on a giant planet
What could possibly go wrong? (Also, FP?)

Re:Extreme (4, Funny)

tagno25 (1518033) | about 4 years ago | (#32797594)

pressures similar to those found deep in the Earth or on a giant planet What could possibly go wrong? (Also, FP?)

There could be an explosion that wipes out a city when some idiot tries to open it to get the watch batteries out of it.

Re:Extreme (5, Funny)

TheKidWho (705796) | about 4 years ago | (#32797654)

Damnit, it's his watch that he paid for with his money, he can do whatever he wants with it since he owns it! So what if he wants to dual boot linux on his watch and run Apache from it while torrenting the latest American Idol, it's his right!

Re:Extreme (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | about 4 years ago | (#32797776)

And he's going to exercise that right right until he blows up!

Re:Extreme (1)

Noam.of.Doom (934040) | about 4 years ago | (#32797954)

Oh, I'm sorry! I thought this was America...

Re:Extreme (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798120)

What manner of creature runs Linux and watches American Idol?

Re:Extreme (1, Funny)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 4 years ago | (#32798182)

Some kid with a genius father, and an idiot mother? Such a person would be a half-breed, and hence a half wit!

And, no, I don't think it would work the other way around. A genius mother wouldn't be fertile for an idiot father - you couldn't even get an infertile idiot offspring (or, mule) from that match up.

Re:Extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798242)

Your posts are always annoyingly assertive. And often just plain wrong.

Re:Extreme (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | about 4 years ago | (#32798240)

Anyone who torrents American Idol should be shot on sight.

Re:Extreme (4, Insightful)

Lennie (16154) | about 4 years ago | (#32797936)

I was thinking, how much energy is needed to create this material ? Because if you need 1000000x the energy to store a little it's probably not as useful.

The pressure is used in a plant to create the material, the safety very much depends on how they apply that pressure. Also you could put it in the desert somewhere if that would make you feel safe.

Re:Extreme (3, Insightful)

Unipuma (532655) | about 4 years ago | (#32798234)

Actually, it can still be very useful. The advantage of a battery is not only that it can store energy, but also makes it transportable. This would be very useful to move an energy source to a location where power generation is not (easily) possible.

Consider how solar cells, even though they might cost more energy to make than they will ever supply during their lifetime are still very useful powering a communication satellite. In the same way, this material might be interesting to send to outer space, or as power supply in other very remote locations.

Batteries (4, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 4 years ago | (#32797562)

This will be awesome for mobile devices, if they can make it cheap and compact enough.

Re:Batteries (4, Funny)

toastar (573882) | about 4 years ago | (#32797574)

... compact enough.

funny

Re:Batteries (2, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 4 years ago | (#32797596)

On the face of it, yes, but the problem is that they've said the material is compact. Whether they can make compact batteries and compact, cheap battery chargers is another question entirely. I doubt they can, considering the pressures involved to make the material.

Re:Batteries (4, Interesting)

AndGodSed (968378) | about 4 years ago | (#32797770)

I wonder, it takes pressures to make diamonds, but the resulting material is not under pressure. I think the correct term is under stress?

So the material might be made by using pressure, but the resulting product is not under pressure stress?

Re:Batteries (1)

raistlinwolf (1365893) | about 4 years ago | (#32797886)

I think if it were possible to disrupt the lattice holding a diamond together that that energy could be unleashed with the diamond decomposing into normal carbon? Maybe this stuff (or some yet discovered stuff) isn't nearly as stable...

Re:Batteries (5, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#32798212)

Yes.

This process is known as fire.

Diamonds burn at temperatures comparable to most carbon containing materials (such as wood).

Re:Batteries (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797986)

Sorry, I'm too lazy to log in. PhD in materials science, etc.

It's called a metastable state. It is stable because local perturbations to the structure raise the energy. If you heated diamonds up enough, they would turn to graphite because they are not the most stable state of carbon at room temperature and pressure. So, diamonds are "metastable" because they aren't truly "stable" but they also won't change on timescales that we work with due to kinetic limitations. Theoretically the diamonds will eventually become graphite, but the probability is extremely low because the thermal energy isn't high enough to let it move.

Also, where else but the internet do random people with PhDs in materials science happen by these sorts of questions? I am very happy that I can answer your question, because thermodynamics is some of the coolest math I have ever seen.

Re:Batteries (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | about 4 years ago | (#32798172)

Thanks for taking the time to answer!

I had exactly the same "only on the internet" thought while I was reading your reply.

Thanks again.

cheers

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798232)

you weren't thankful enough. Now - bow before the Ph.D and start licking feet, maggot.

Re:Batteries (2, Informative)

gardyloo (512791) | about 4 years ago | (#32798306)

I dunno. Try coming to the "Cowboy Breakfast"s in Los Alamos. I guarantee that if you strike up a conversation with a random stranger, he or she will have worked on some wacky stuff -- and might even be allowed to talk about it!

Re:Batteries (5, Informative)

petaflop (682818) | about 4 years ago | (#32797600)

I suspect it is completely useless to batteries, unfortunately. To 'charge' the material you need a diamond anvil cell capable of generating a million atmospheres.

It's not clear to me if they've even got a way of releasing the energy (is the compressed form stable?). If they have, then you're going to have to generate electricity from the mechanical expansion of a solid. The most obvious way we achieve that currently is a coiled spring, which probably won't work in this case.

As the article says, this is basic science.

Re:Batteries (0, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#32797914)

imagine that you compressed something to 1,000,000atm. You compressed it with some diamond anvil, now release the pressure of the anvil. Do you think the material compressed by the anvil will stay compressed or will immediately start decompressing?

I think it will start decompressing.

So for this compressed material to be used as a form of energy store, you have to keep it compressed. You could only compress this with some diamond anvil, ergo now to power some mechanism with the stored energy, you have to install that anvil into the mechanism and allow the compressed material to decompress slowly and use the pushing of the anvil as your mechanical force, (transfer it to a rotating shaft, or whatever it is you are powering.)

OK, so if the diamond anvil is not terribly massive/bulky and not extremely expensive, you can probably install it into large mechanisms, like excavators or trucks or bulldozers or ships or airplanes, and then to 'refuel' the machine you attach it to an energy outlet and turn the anvil back on to compress the material within it back to 1,000,000atm.

I think that's the only way to release the energy slowly.

Another way is something the military probably would like: drop an 'anvil' on someone, so not only are you getting mad Coyote pointz but after it drops and a small charge blows some holding bolts the energy inside the 'anvil' is released all at once very quickly, probably as an explosion.

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798194)

> Do you think the material compressed by the anvil will stay compressed or will immediately start decompressing?

It wasn't clear from the story however diamonds are a dense form of carbon (denser than graphite, dead animals etc). When you dig them up they don't start 'decompressing' (expanding?). Equally I have seen companies that will make diamonds from the ashes of a dead pet, relative etc

Still not sure that helps with extracting the energy in a simple way like a battery. If it's a stable structure then presumably you can extract the energy by burning (can you burn a diamond? does their compound burn?) or some form of nuclear fission!

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797968)

This could be a good way to store solar power for the night for large solar arrays perhaps.

Re:Batteries go BOOOOOOOOM! (5, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | about 4 years ago | (#32797638)

Why do people always consider the mobile devices first??? Think big first:
- Energy storage for renewable to allow baseline operation
- Car fuel that only needs to be refilled monthly
- Backup generators that don't require huge fuel tanks
...and finally after all other things bigger have been made to run on this you start creating the smaller versions.

You never want to start small with new technology. Remember the problem with exploding Nokia's? I would not let a higher energy density version near my head until it's been tested in practice for years, no need to nuke my own head off...

Re:Batteries go BOOOOOOOOM! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797662)

Why do people always consider the mobile devices first

Because we want longer batterylife! goddamned!

This message was sent via an Android phone.

Re:Batteries go BOOOOOOOOM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797690)

also rockets...

Re:Batteries go BOOOOOOOOM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797742)

A car is a mobile device.

Re:Batteries go BOOOOOOOOM! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#32798216)

A car is a mobile device.

Not my '91 Corolla.

Re:Batteries go BOOOOOOOOM! (1)

swilver (617741) | about 4 years ago | (#32797926)

My car already only needs to be refilled monthly...

Re: Why do people always consider the mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798176)

Kind of funny that you mention that, because the first thing that came to mind for me was better rocket fuel. Current chemical engines are bulky and inefficient and unless the Earth was on a collision course with something the size of Ceres, the general public would go bat shit crazy opposing anything nuclear.

Re:Batteries (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#32797818)

This will be awesome for mobile devices, if they can make it cheap and compact enough.

Unless it weights 1kg/cm3

Re:Batteries (1)

Rhaban (987410) | about 4 years ago | (#32798092)

Dark matter [wikia.com] ?

Re:Batteries (1)

damburger (981828) | about 4 years ago | (#32798266)

Putting aside the issue of how you recharge it (lets assume you move to disposables) then its of little use anyway. Battery life isn't so much of an issue as power consumption, and what is limiting us in increasing the latter is not energy density it is heat. Lithium ion batteries are about as efficient as they can be, so every extra milliwatt you want to draw for your latest mobile ubertoy is going to up the amount of heat being pumped into the users pockets/testicles, regardless of how good your engineering is.

never before seen, except here (-1, Troll)

fuckfuckfuckfuckhey (1848712) | about 4 years ago | (#32797586)

Yea, these guys are acting like they're the first people to come up with this idea, but that is clearly and completely untrue. for instance, I can tell you FOR SURE that I can store at least twice this amount per square centimeter in my huge throbbing penis!

Re:never before seen, except here (-1, Troll)

thijsh (910751) | about 4 years ago | (#32797604)

You're a dick...

typical /. mod downs (0)

fuckfuckfuckfuckhey (1848712) | about 4 years ago | (#32797814)

ya typical. modded down because you don't agree. well fuck you too!

Re:never before seen, except here (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798222)

So - who's huge throbbing penis are you calling yours this week? Come on, you can tell us, who is your new boyfreind? We like to keep tabs on the fudgepackers around here, so they don't sneak up behind us.

So, how do one extract the energy? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797614)

They can store, but how do one extract the energy ?

Re:So, how do one extract the energy? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 4 years ago | (#32797786)

Well, it's a metal... so I'm gunna take a wild guess and say electricity might flow through it.. that's all I've got.

Re:So, how do one extract the energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797792)

You drop it on a head of a potential enemy?

Re:So, how do one extract the energy? (2, Interesting)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 4 years ago | (#32797804)

When I was a kid, one could throw a AA battery against the ground, real hard, and have a roughly 25% chance of it going bang, releasing all the energy at once. At least I assume that was what powered the small explosion. The cheap Chinese ones that sometimes came with toys had a much higher explosion rate. It was like getting free firecrackers with every battery powered toy.

Not what you had in mind though, I suspect.

My guess would be a chemical reaction that cracked the material into component materials, releasing energy in some form or another, heat or light being the most probable.

Re:So, how do one extract the energy? (1)

gafisher (865473) | about 4 years ago | (#32797822)

The end product, stored in vast underground reserves, is then recovered by drilling and refining, transported in liquid form, and converted back to energy through a process referred to as "combustion." The developers are certain there can be no negative impact and envision safe, clean "filling stations" someday dotting the landscape.

Re:So, how do one extract the energy? (1)

kubitus (927806) | about 4 years ago | (#32797828)

remember the very old toys which still appear in cartoons: with a wind-up clockwork?

-

that will it be: you crank it up and let the clockwork drive your car!

Re:So, how do one extract the energy? (0, Troll)

tyrione (134248) | about 4 years ago | (#32797852)

They can store, but how do one extract the energy ?

Questioned like someone never having taken basic Chemistry.

That is always the trickey part (2, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#32798020)

I think some folks forget that we already have some things with amazing energy densities out there. Semtex would be a good example. It is stable, moldable, and stores a whole lot of energy. However, the way it releases its energy is as an explosion, it is a plastic explosive. Well that makes it not so useful as a battery. For batteries, you want a slow release of energy, and you want that energy in an electrical form, of course. We have all kinds of substances with high energy densities, but that doesn't mean they are usefl as a battery. As the parent says, it matter how you can get the energy out.

Re:So, how do one extract the energy? (1)

ascari (1400977) | about 4 years ago | (#32798296)

That's the easy one: BOOOOOOOOM!

Energy density? (3, Interesting)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 4 years ago | (#32797636)

Anyone care to do the energy density calculation on a mass basis? Also I wonder how efficient the process is at converting mechanical energy to chemical energy?(it's almost like a gasoline engine running in reverse!)

Re:Energy density? (1)

kubitus (927806) | about 4 years ago | (#32797834)

watch out!

-

one more turn and you create a black hole!

Re:Energy density? (2, Funny)

ascari (1400977) | about 4 years ago | (#32798278)

it's almost like a gasoline engine running in reverse!

Crap. Most people don't know how to parallel park any more much less going in reverse down the highway. May as well file this invention with personal jetpacks and flying cars.

Just one thing (4, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | about 4 years ago | (#32797644)

Using super-high pressures similar to those found deep in the Earth or on a giant planet

In other words, it's unobtanium [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Just one thing (1)

jlebrech (810586) | about 4 years ago | (#32797750)

I suggest we call it Naquada!

Proof Of The Science News Cycle! (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 4 years ago | (#32797650)

Hahaha.. this so reminds me of this [phdcomics.com] .

Folks, what they've done is make Xenon Octa-fluoride, which is an order of magnitude harder than the previously created Xenon Tera-fluoride.

As cool as it is that some chemists have managed to make a new compound that had only been theorized before, it's not enough for the drooling media. So they try to explain why it is remotely relevant and interesting, and the media replies with this sort of gross stupidity.

Science reporting at its finest.

Re:Proof Of The Science News Cycle! (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#32797858)

Are you sure? I didn't see anything explaining how The Terrorists could use it to Destroy Freedom, or how Organized Foreign Crime is already pushing contaminated Xocflu in Your Neighborhood.

Re:Proof Of The Science News Cycle! (2, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | about 4 years ago | (#32797866)

give. it. time.

Re:Proof Of The Science News Cycle! (3, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | about 4 years ago | (#32797934)

Yes, but phdcomics missed one important step in the science news cycle: where the researcher himself wracks his brain to come up with some speculative practical application to justify his next grant.

Ideally, every grant should have a section, "How this discovery will help the war against terror (if we get more money)."

Back in the cold war, every grant had a section, "How this discovery will help the war against Communism (if we get more money)."

Then comes the section, "How this discovery will help the war against cancer (if we get more money)."

Since the investigator is supposed to review every press release for accuracy, phdcomics can't blame the university PR office too much.

Not that I have any objection. I'd rather see money spent on useless basic science than on war.

Finally (4, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 4 years ago | (#32797658)

This isn't going to find its way into any consumer products. 70 GPa? No federal agency would certify such a device to be sold into the hands of Joe Schmoe. The more meaningful consequence of this research is the demonstration of storing mechanical energy into chemical energy. In 20 years this may lead to innovations in energy storage on a massive scale, like in solar or wind power plants.

Re:Finally (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32797700)

You only get to that pressure if you have a diamond anvil. If you want to store enough to power a car you will need one hell of an anvil.

Re:Finally (2, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 years ago | (#32797726)

You only get to that pressure if you have a diamond anvil. If you want to store enough to power a car you will need one hell of an anvil.

I can see a remake of "diamonds are forever" coming.

Re:Finally (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 4 years ago | (#32797910)

Awesome for terrorists.

But if it could be made safe it would be interesting to use in cars and other vehicles.

Re:Finally (1)

put_it_down (1847636) | about 4 years ago | (#32798166)

I think they might jump on this a bit faster than 20 years from now. I hope they will anyway.

XeF2 - are they crazy? (2, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | about 4 years ago | (#32797668)

XeF2 produces _atomic_ fluorine during decomposition. Just thinking about it makes me shiver.

Re:XeF2 - are they crazy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798030)

In future industrial accidents, the exhausts compact you!

Re:XeF2 - are they crazy? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798080)

There's people playing with a lot nastier compounds out there...
http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/things_i_wont_work_with/
Dioxygen Difluoride is one of the more spectacular WTF, another "favorite" is chlorine trifluoride which is hypergolic with lots of things including ordinarily benign materials such as sand!

Re:XeF2 - are they crazy? (1)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | about 4 years ago | (#32798170)

another "favorite" is chlorine trifluoride which is hypergolic with lots of things including ordinarily benign materials such as sand!

Don't forget the engineers!

Re:XeF2 - are they crazy? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about 4 years ago | (#32798256)

Waaaah! Just reading about FOOF made me cringe. It's even worse than watching horror films.

What next? (4, Funny)

Rophuine (946411) | about 4 years ago | (#32797678)

Niling d-sink. BAM. Next, the Commonwealth is invaded by a malicious alien.

the most condensed form of energy ... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 years ago | (#32797686)

the most condensed form of energy storage outside of nuclear energy. And totally undetectable by radiation detectors, and presumably because this was achieved by a University research team well within the capabilities of a number of countries. Doesn't it make you feel safe to know that they published ful details in Nature [nature.com] .

Re:the most condensed form of energy ... (3, Insightful)

petaflop (682818) | about 4 years ago | (#32797816)

Yes, I feel perfectly safe. The energy is just as dangerous as the vast amounts of nuclear energy stored in the atomic nuclei of the apple sitting on my desk.

Re:the most condensed form of energy ... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 years ago | (#32797848)

Yes, I feel perfectly safe. The energy is just as dangerous as the vast amounts of nuclear energy stored in the atomic nuclei of the apple sitting on my desk.

For a second there, I imagined a guy in a radiation suit; next to his mouse, a apple, green glow pulsating on phase with a deep buzzing sound.

Re:the most condensed form of energy ... (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | about 4 years ago | (#32798284)

Steve Jobs was quoted as saying "If you suffer any adverse effects from holding the Apple, you're just holding it wrong.".

Hello, we're from BAE systems (1)

taylorius (221419) | about 4 years ago | (#32797692)

And we'd like to buy your super new material! What's that? Good for batteries, you say? Errrrr *snigger* oh yes - of course, really powerful "batteries", oh yes!

Don't read too much into this... (5, Interesting)

bertok (226922) | about 4 years ago | (#32797716)

I used to study batteries and capacitors and the like in relation to energy storage, and one interesting comment I heard once was that storage utilising only chemical or electromagnetic methods cannot store more energy in a given lump of matter than the energy contained in its chemical bonds, otherwise the stored energy exceeds the "binding strength" of the substance, and it's liable to either leak the energy, not accept any more, or even explode.

This is true of even things like Ultracapacitors or flywheel storage, both of which have similar issues with breakdown largely caused by limited bond strength, despite neither using chemical energy storage.

This kind of "high pressure storage" seems to break this rule if you consider only the compressed material itself as the storage medium. If you factor in the anvil generating those pressures, then you'll find that the total system is probably quite bad at energy storage per kg of matter. There's no escaping this.

The pressure they were using is over 100GPa (1 million atmospheres), which is notably higher than the highest tensile strength of carbon nanotubes ever measured! There's no chance in hell that a practical container could be made to contain a material at those pressures. First of all, it would have to be atomically perfect, and second, it would violently explode if it received the slightest damage!

What the article was saying is that some of the energy imparted by the compression was stored as chemical energy. This is all fine and good, but I guarantee that if the pressure is lowered, that energy is released, and none of it can be stored at normal pressures.

Trust a dumbass journalist to rewrite that to mean that suddenly our electric cars will be powered by Xenon Fluoride compressed by diamond anvils, even though the original research paper doesn't mention anything of the sort!

Re:Don't read too much into this... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797892)

You fool, how can you even think of using conventional containment for an unconventional energy storage. You need a relativistic containment chamber utilizing a gravity well or black hole in the center of mass within the condensed entity. By regulating the tachyon flow from the emitter which is powered by residual expansion you can manually regulate the stability of the entity.
-Scotty

Re:Don't read too much into this... (3, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about 4 years ago | (#32797978)

Trust a dumbass journalist to rewrite that to mean that suddenly our electric cars will be powered by Xenon Fluoride compressed by diamond anvils, even though the original research paper doesn't mention anything of the sort!

It wasn't the journalist who wrote the bit about "potential for creating a new class of energetic materials or fuels, an energy storage device, super-oxidizing materials for destroying chemical and biological agents, and high temperature superconductors," it was the university PR office. http://www.wsunews.wsu.edu/pages/Publications.asp?Action=Release&PublicationID=20580 [wsu.edu] The researcher reviews and approves the press release before the university sends it out.

So you can trust the dumbass scientist to hype his research in the hope of getting more funding.

Re:Don't read too much into this... (1)

alansingfield (257819) | about 4 years ago | (#32798026)

So its like the "universal solvent" then - you can't make a bottle to put it in!

Re:Don't read too much into this... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#32798098)

You're neglecting the possibility for the material being its own container on molecular level.

Imagine a crystal of structure similar to graphite - layers of fairly dense material separated by wide distances. It is normally moderately brittle and low-energy. Now assume this crystal has no electric connection between the layers but the layers themselves are conductive. Apply altering charge to each of them. The thing becomes a capacitor with each layer pulled closer to the next. The bonds between layers get compressed, layers get closer. The layers themselves expand slightly plane-wise, but their internal strength is vastly higher than the inter-planar bond, they are at no risk of breaking. As result, the material becomes much more dense - harder, particles packed more tightly, less brittle. The energy is not stored in bonds stretched to their limits making the material weak and prone to tear/explode, but in compression of the bonds, making it very hard and dense, decompressing to normal volume upon discharge.

Of course rapid discharge would create vast amounts of heat that would make this thing explode. But that's true about mostly any high-energy material, turn its released energy against its own structural integrity and shit hits the fan. But as opposed to overcharging normal materials where the bonds will be getting weaker and eventually break up, this one would get harder and stronger with each bit of charge stored, and you can keep charging it until the distance between layers becomes a spark gap, never worrying about its tensile strength as it increases as you charge.

The real-life example is reinforced concrete. Normally, concrete is very durable against compression while vulnerable to bending/decompression. Quite opposite to steel bars. So strained steel is enclosed in concrete, and released it applies its own compressing tension to the concrete. Now a bending/straining such a concrete beam would first have to overcome the strain of the steel before it gets to stretch the concrete, energy got stored and locked in it, and despite it being brittle and vulnerable to decompression, you first have to provide energy equivalent to what was enclosed in it before you can act against its vulnerability. And since its compression strength is vast, the steel inside is safe against bending through compression. So - the composite material got a lot of (tensile) energy stored inside during production and it became vastly more durable than a mere compound sum of its components. It may store (withstand) less than energy difference between zero tension and maximally compressed raw concrete or zero tension and maximally strained steel, but its durability range between maximum compression and maximum strain beats both.

Arc Reactor incoming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797724)

CAPS(Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave.... with a box of scraps!)

New Material *Can* Store vasts amounts of energy (2, Funny)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | about 4 years ago | (#32797774)

So, considering it "CAN", but not necessarily does store it, does that mean they're having some motivational issues with this material?

Will this evolve into chemical psychology?

Re:New Material *Can* Store vasts amounts of energ (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797944)

I think the material won't store energy if it feels it's under too much pressure.

Re:New Material *Can* Store vasts amounts of energ (1)

gclef (96311) | about 4 years ago | (#32798056)

Yes...and we already know that the materials won't perform as well if they're all doped up.

E=mc^2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797842)

Ordinary matter stores as well much more energy as given by Einstein's formula, which doesn't mean this energy is easy to access.

Unobtainium! (1)

broknstrngz (1616893) | about 4 years ago | (#32797846)

Because Hollywood screenplay writers deserve a non-fictional reference!

Adamantite! (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 years ago | (#32797996)

Because Earth is a Giant Planet if you're a Dwarf!

Heads Up !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32797980)

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the Devil walking next to me

Bangkok, Oriental setting
And the city don't know what the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world
In a show with everything but Yul Brynner

Time flies, doesn't seem a minute
Since the Tirolean Spa had the chess boys in it
All change, don't you know that when you
Play at this level, there's no ordinary venue

It's Iceland or the Philippines
Or Hastings or, or this place

One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a God in every golden cloister
And if you're lucky then the God's a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One town's very like another
When your head's down over your pieces, Brother

It's a drag, it's a bore, it's really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city

Whaddya mean?
Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town

Tea girls, warm and sweet, warm, sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham Suite

"Get Thai'd", you're talking to a tourist
Whose every move's among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the Devil walking next to me

Siam's gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would
A muddy old river or Reclining Buddha

But thank God, I'm only watching the game, controlling it

I don't see you guys rating
The kind of mate I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you

So you better go back to your bars, your temples
Your massage parlors

One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a God in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel slidin' up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the Devil walking next to me

Re:Heads Up !! (1)

daveime (1253762) | about 4 years ago | (#32798262)

One post on Slashdot makes the lawyers mumble
I can feel the **AA walking next to me

Trioculans puperonium (1)

grikdog (697841) | about 4 years ago | (#32797988)

Obviously, the obligatory Futurama allusion...

Useless for practical applications... (4, Informative)

Wdi (142463) | about 4 years ago | (#32797998)

The substance is not stable when the pressure is released - it immediately decomposes. Carrying around the whole set-up where the typical payload (i.e. the compressed substance) is maybe 0.1% of the total weight of the apparatus is of course impractical. Also, this kind of high-pressure research is not exactly new. There are many published similar experiments where compounds undergo interesting crystal structure changes at ultra-high pressures. Nevertheless, bond strenghts limit what extra energy you can store in crystal structure variants. Xe-F bonds are definitely not among the strongest.

Currently, the only remotely realistic method for radical improvements in stored energy per weight are metastable isotopes, but even that is a far shot.

Energon Cubes? (0, Redundant)

Macrat (638047) | about 4 years ago | (#32798052)

Will this attract the Transformers?

Man, I don't know about this summary (1)

NEW22 (137070) | about 4 years ago | (#32798054)

From the summary, as best I can tell, we have invented Energon cubes. Drink it up, Autobots.

Store energy from lightning.. (0, Redundant)

b4nd0ler0 (1597801) | about 4 years ago | (#32798084)

see if they manage that, shed-loads of power but storing it has always been a major problem

The grail of energy storage... (1)

Braintrust (449843) | about 4 years ago | (#32798104)

... would be something the size of a softball that holds 100 MJ of energy in a physically stable state. Your flying car would be months away from the date that kind of energy storage is announced.

Someone tag this Shipstone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798140)

This is awesome.

Does this scale well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798196)

If it is greater the amount of energy needed to create that "super-high" pressure than the amount of energy it can hold during its operating life span this does not scale well, so we should not see this as a massive solution. Else, this could be use for wind and solar farms.

Converting mechanical energy into chemical energy (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | about 4 years ago | (#32798252)

I dont' see anywhere in the actual article that says that once the pressure was taken off, the material spontaneously exploded. So it's possible that no containment vessel was needed.

In which case, it would make a rather powerful conventional explosive. Even if it has 1/10th the energy of nuclear material, if you pack 400kg of it into a bomb, and find a way to release it easily, you could handily have a 'pseudo nuke' which had no fallout consequences.

Or some wickedly powerful jet fuel. I imagine planes would be much more efficient if they weren't carrying half their weight in fuel, and would have significantly longer ranges.

space quest 20: the search for more buttplugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32798288)

the game begins with the sound of a plunger, continues throughout with the sound, and ends with a wet plunger sound.

Wrong (1)

Kim0 (106623) | about 4 years ago | (#32798294)

I just checked the abstract and accompanying figures, and there is no mentioning of vast amounts of energy there. Kim0+, M.Sc. Physics.
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