A new soft, extended battery can safely power up

1642081922 A new soft extended battery can safely power up

The battery, developed at Stanford University, uses special plastic to store energy more safely than conventional batteries.

Researchers David Mackanic, Xuzhou Yan, Yi Cui, and Zhenan Bao from Stanford University's school of engineering have created a prototype soft, stretch battery for consumption. The new type of battery relies on unparalleled plastic to store energy more safely, compared to the flammable materials used in conventional batteries, according to an article by Stanford Engineering Journal.

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The use of polymers, or plastics, is not new, according to the journal article; however, some previous polymers existed as flow gels that could leak or explode into a flame.

The new battery is ideal for use in wearables, such as smartwatches, as it is soft and flexible.

"The current batteries are hard and tough, making them incompatible with the human body. This means that the batteries need to be small so that they are not uncomfortable," said David. Mackanic, one of the researchers in the project.

“In addition, our battery uses polymer electrolyte, which is safer than the melt electrolyte currently used for many consumable batteries. Our battery electrolyte is safer because it is less flammable and flammable, and will not leak, "said Mackanic.

Explained later in the scientific journal Nature Communications, even though it is built differently, the battery can still bear the cost of electricity between battery poles.

In the test lab, the experimental battery maintained a constant power output even when charged, compressed, and stretched to nearly twice the original length.

The battery is thumb-sized and capable of storing about half the amount of energy as a traditional battery of the same size, according to Stanford magazine.


    What can the battery use?

    “We are still trying out new ways to integrate our battery into affordable electronics. This battery could be integrated into things like wristbands for smart watches, allowing the true smart watch to be thinner and more comfortable, "Mackanic said." These batteries could to be comfortably incorporated into clothing, providing a source of energy for smart clothing. ”

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    While this battery is undoubtedly impressive, it only holds half of traditional battery power, which is a real limitation, said Ramon Llamas, director of mobile device research at International Data Corporation.

    While Mackanic said this battery could be used in smartwatches, hearing aids, smart glasses, smart clothes, shoes, body health checkpoints, and more, Llamas noted that most -some of extended battery wearables first, in particular. on systems such as fitness trackers or smartwatches.

    The most practical use case right now, based on battery size, would be in disposable heart rate monitors. People usually wear heart rate monitors for about 24 hours before they pass. Extended batteries would be good for this application because they are flexible, Llamas said.

    However, Mackanic pointed out that future versions of the extended battery could be larger, allowing for more advanced use cases.

    "Currently, the energy density of our battery is lower than conventional lithium-ion batteries," Mackanic said.

    However, because the battery is so flexible, future prototypes can be made larger, allowing for more power and battery life, without losing comfort, Mackanic said.

    The battery is still being upgraded and going through the manufacturing process, after which the battery will go through an advanced safety test. For now, the battery is still a prototype.

    Mackanic said it would likely take between 12 and 18 months for them to provide manufacturers with fully tested test batteries.

    For more, see How accessible devices and sensors could make some of the most dangerous jobs safer on TechRepublic.

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