Flexible batteries could be the future devices that power our gadgets, emit distress signals in the case of an emergency or even resuscitate a dying patient. Woven into fabrics, they can reach extreme applications, but also have to withstand extreme conditions like washing and ironing.
A team at the Polytechnic School of Montreal in Canada led by Maksim Skorobogatiy sandwiched a solid polyethylene oxide electrolyte between a lithium iron phosphate cathode and lithium titanate anode. The materials are all thermoplastic, and can be stretched by mild heating.
“It’s the first fully wearable, soft lithium-ion battery that uses no liquid electrolytes,” says Skorobogatiy about their leather-looking material. After stretching it with heat, they wove it into cotton fabrics and lit some LEDs.
Despite this currently limited application, the battery could one day be used in virtually everything. The team is now set on finding ways to make the battery washable, task which can prove itself even more challenging than creating it in the first place.
[via new scientist]