Feeds

Texan team paints batteries onto beer steins

Flexible future power storage in the offing

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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.

Battery beer stein

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.

The team hand-painted nine bathroom tiles with the components and charged them using a solar cell and installed current. They discharged a steady 2.4 volts for six hours and went through 60 charge/recharge cycles with very little loss of capacity, while the power absorption capacity of the tiles was remarkably uniform despite the hand-painted process.

"Spray painting is already an industrial process, so it would be very easy to incorporate this into industry," said lead author Neelam Singh.

While the technique is interesting, don’t expect to buy a can of battery paint any time soon. Some of the materials used are highly toxic and the painting itself needs a special argon-filled chamber for assembly. The team is now working on adapting the paints to be safer to use and adding water and oxygen sealants to get the batteries working outside the laboratory.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.