Issue Date: January 24, 2011
Relativity Powers Batteries
Much of the power in lead-acid batteries comes from relativistic effects on lead electrons, according to a theoretical study (Phys. Rev. Lett., DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.018301). Rechargeable lead-acid batteries, which use sulfuric acid as the electrolyte between metallic Pb and PbO2 electrodes, are common in vehicles. But just why they work so well has been something of a mystery. Researchers at Sweden’s Uppsala University and Finland’s University of Helsinki investigated the role that relativistic . . .
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