Bendable batteries! That’s the latest thing in battery research and development, it seems. A Korean team has come up with materials that could lead to flexible lithium-ion batteries, and the implications are profound.
Under the new approach, batteries would be developed by replacing liquid electrolytes with solid (but “fluid-like”) polymer electrolytes that do not need the conventional hard battery shell. Such batteries would be more stable and hardy, manufactured faster, and much more flexible overall. And, of course, it could mean concepts for flexible electronics would turn into reality much sooner than anticipated.
According to Wired.com, the research will be published in the journal Advanced Materials later this year. The effort was led by Professor Lee Sang-young of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.
This development proceeds nicely apace with the gradual emergence of an aesthetic of flexibility in electronics; at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung brought out its Youm flexible OLED panels, which could soon begin showing up in computer monitors, televisions, and wearable electronics.
On the other hand, lithium-ion might not even be the go-to battery technology of the future. If Imprint Energy, a California-based startup, has its way, then zinc batteries using a solid electrolyte (much like the developments in Korea) could be the future.
In short, it’s the same concept as described above, except that it uses zinc, which means the batteries are less toxic than any lithium-based product.