Scientists build first bendable battery

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Scientists build first bendable battery

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A group of Korean scientists has developed the world’s first bendable lithium-ion batteries that will aid in the development of flexible mobile devices and the efficiency of rechargeable batteries.

According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology yesterday, a joint research team led by Professor Lee Sang-young of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology and researchers from nine other institutes succeeded in developing imprintable, fluid-like polymer electrolytes that are used for lithium-ion batteries.

Conventional batteries use liquefied electrolytes and are put into square-shaped cases, which make them inflexible.

There are also risks of explosion. Because of these disadvantages, there have been efforts to develop high-molecule electrolytes.

The use of fluid-like electrolytes not only makes the battery bendable but also more stable, the Science Ministry said, which partly funded the research.

There is no need to manufacture the square-shaped battery cases when using the fluid-electrolytes.

Just like spreading jam on bread, spreading the fluid-like electrolytes on electrodes and exposing them to ultraviolet rays for 30 seconds is how the new rechargeable battery is created.

The manufacturing process for these batteries should be faster, according to the ministry.

Another advantage of the imprintable electrolytes is greater efficiency. If electrolytes are imprintable, they can have various patterns printed on them, helping chemical reactions that raise the output of the batteries.

“Conventional lithium-ion batteries that use liquefied electrolytes had safety problems as the film that separates the electrolytes may melt under heat, in which case the positive and negative elements may come in contact, causing an explosion,” said an official at the ministry.

“Because the new battery uses flexible but solid materials, and not liquids, it can be expected to show a much higher level of stability than conventional rechargeable batteries.”

“We hope our paper helps the early commercialization of flexible mobile devices and safer battery use,” said Professor Lee.



By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]
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