Texan team paints batteries onto beer steins
Flexible future power storage in the offing
Researchers in Texas have discovered a way to break down the components of a battery into liquid form and paint power cells onto everyday objects.
An electrifying brew
In a paper published in Scientific Reports, the team at Rice University detailed the development of fluids that mimic the conventional lithium-ion battery components, and then painted them on tiles, beer steins, steel, and flexible surfaces. The wafer-thin layers can then be charged up and run like a normal battery.
“There has been 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,” said Pulickel Ajayan, Rice’s professor in mechanical engineering, materials science, and chemistry.
The material used in the layers ranges from the exotic to the prosaic. To manufacture the positive current collector the team used carbon nanotubes in solution, while its negative collector counterpart consists of commercially available copper paint mixed with ethanol.