HOUSTON (June 28, 2012) Researchers at Rice University have developed a lithium-ion battery that can be painted on virtually any surface.
The rechargeable battery created in the lab of Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan consists of spray-painted layers, each representing the components in a traditional battery. The research appears today in Nature's online, open-access journal Scientific Reports.
"This means traditional packaging for batteries has given way to a much more flexible approach that allows all kinds of new design and integration possibilities for storage devices," said Ajayan, Rice's Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and of chemistry. "There has been a lot of interest in recent times in creating power sources with an improved form factor, and this is a big step forward in that direction."
Lead author Neelam Singh, a Rice graduate student, and her team spent painstaking hours formulating, mixing and testing paints for each of the five layered components two current collectors, a cathode, an anode and a polymer separator in the middle.
The materials were airbrushed onto ceramic bathroom tiles, flexible polymers, glass, stainless steel and even a beer stein to see how well they would bond with each substrate.
In the first experiment, nine bathroom tile-based batteries were connected in parallel. One was topped with a solar cell that converted power from a white laboratory light. When fully charged by both the solar panel and house current, the batteries alone powered a set of light-emitting diodes that spelled out "RICE" for six hours; the batteries provided a steady 2.4 volts.
The researchers reported that the hand-painted batteries were remarkably consistent in their capacities, within plus or minus 10 percent of the target. They were also put through 60 charge-discharge cycles with only a very small drop in
|Contact: David Ruth|