Researchers build flexible batteries from carbon nanotubes
The batteries can be any size, from a pinhead to a carpet
Computerworld - Researchers have built a flexible battery out of carbon nanotubes that could power electronic devices with flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, such as televisions and computer tablets that literally fold or roll up.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) researchers were able to use standard electrochemicals to produce the charge in a flexible form factor that has no size limits.
"This battery can be made as small as a pinhead or as large as a carpet in your living room," said Somenath Mitra, a professor of chemistry and environmental science whose research group invented the battery. "So its applications are endless. You can place a rolled-up battery in the trunk of your electric car and have it power the vehicle."
The flexible battery, Mitra said, has another revolutionary potential: it could be fabricated at home by consumers using only a kit comprised of electrode paste and a laminating machine.
"One would coat two plastic sheets with the electrode paste, place a plastic separator between the sheets and then laminate the assembly. The battery assembly would function in the same way as a double-A or a triple-A battery," Mitra said.
Battery power does vary with size, Mitra said. The current flexible battery prototype is roughly 1.5-in. by 2-in. in size and can power a couple of LED lights. How long the flexible battery could hold a charge depends upon discharge rate, Mitra said in an email response to Computerworld
The nanotube battery, given its flexibility and components, can be used to power a new generation of bendable electronics. The battery is made from carbon nanotubes and micro-particles that serve as active components -- similar to those found in conventional batteries. It is designed, though, to contain the electro-active ingredients while remaining flexible.
The battery uses any number of electrochemicals to produce a charge. For example, for an alkaline cell the researchers could use zinc and manganese dioxide; for lithium ion they would use lithium salts.
"The idea is to put a conventional battery in a flexible platform," Mitra said. "Our current work that is going to be published utilizes over 92% of active ingredients, so that is important."
Electronic manufacturers are currently developing flexible OLED displays. For example, Samsung and LG have unveiled curved-screen smartphones.
The NJIT researchers said a patent application on the battery has been filed, and the battery will be featured in an upcoming issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Advanced Materials. Mitra developed the new technology at NJIT with assistance from Zhiqian Wang, a doctoral student in chemistry.( "We have been experimenting with carbon nanotubes and other leading technologies for many years at NJIT," Mitra said, "and it's exciting to apply leading-edge technologies to create a flexible battery that has myriad consumer applications."
Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Qi wireless charging spec gets more flexibility with distance extension
- NASA upgrades humanoid robot in space
- NASA: Finding life on other planets is within our grasp
- Money talks, and that's all quantum maker D-Wave has to say
- 45 years after moon landing, NASA looks to next giant leap
- Google's 3D mapping tech flying to space station
- IBM eyes new chips for a new digital age
- Particle collider gets an overhaul to better seek out dark matter, God particle
- Tech breakthroughs may mean 'digital everything' by 2025
- Ready the robots! DARPA sets finals for robotics challenge
Read more about Emerging Technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- The Growing Demand for Rich Media This white paper discusses how IBM Customer Experience Suite Rich Media Edition can automate rich media workflows, from collaborating with creative agencies and...
- Intelligent Imaging for Improved Banking Performance and Profitability A new generation of "Intelligent Imaging" solutions has emerged that is helping banks remove the burden of paper in legacy processes, like loan...
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!