Crumpled, paper-thin battery shape of future

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Crumpled, paper-thin battery shape of future


A crumpled lithium-ion battery continues to put out power. Provided by the ministry

A university-industry alliance has developed a material that allows paper-thin, flexible batteries to function even after they are crumpled and folded.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced yesterday that the new material will accelerate the development of flexible batteries for various wearable devices.

The new material - plastic crystal polymer electrolytes - is effective at temperatures of up to 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit) and is about 10 times slimmer and 30 times more flexible than regular polymer electrolytes.

“Performance, specifically how long it lasts, and safety are two main goals that battery researchers like us aim to achieve,” said Lee Sang-young, an associate professor at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology’s interdisciplinary school of green energy. “The next area we will focus on is new materials that will go inside the batteries, because the supply of lithium is decreasing, and it is toxic to the environment and a potential health risk.”

The Unist-LG Chem research team said the new material continues to function even when crumpled or coiled up like telephone cords.

The alliance of the institute and LG Chem - a company that has developed curved, stackable and cable-shaped batteries - is part of the ministry’s technology convergence program.

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