Stretchable lithium-ion batteries are now a reality. Created by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, the flexible batteries are designed to power their already created counterparts, flexible electronic devices.
Previously, the flexible electronics needed to be connected to a power outlet via a cord. But with the creation of the new battery, the devices are now mobile.
“The stretchable electronic devices can now be used anywhere, including inside the human body. The implantable electronics could monitor anything from brain waves to heart activity, succeeding where flat, rigid batteries would fail.”
The new batteries have been demonstrated to continue working even after being thoroughly “stretched, folded, twisted and mounted on a human elbow.” The batteries can go for about 8-9 hours before they need to be recharged, which can be done wirelessly.
“We start with a lot of battery components side by side in a very small space, and we connect them with tightly packed, long wavy lines,” said Yonggang Huang, co-author of the paper. “These wires provide the flexibility. When we stretch the battery, the wavy interconnecting lines unfurl, much like yarn unspooling. And we can stretch the device a great deal and still have a working battery.”
In any other way, these batteries are the same as conventional lithium-ion batteries. The power and voltage is identical. They simply possess great flexibility. It will be interesting to see what uses people can come up with for these.
The technology will be detailed in a paper published on February 26th in the online journal Nature Communications.
Source: Northwestern University
Image Credits: Northwestern University