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article imageFlat pack batteries offer improved performance

By Tim Sandle     Jul 29, 2015 in Science
Sydney - For wearable tech to become more user-friendly in terms of ease of use, the power source must be flatter. This is what a science group is proposing — a flat pack battery, and one with good power capacity too.
A research team is developing a flexible, foldable, and lightweight energy storage device for use with the next generation of wearable technology. There is also a potential device for medical implants, like pacemakers.
Battery life and power capacity has a relationship with size. Many innovations with wearable tech are based on the need to have small batteries (no one wants to be lugging along a massive battery). Due to the constraints of heat generation and power, the solution is to move to flatter batteries in order to increase the surface area.
To achieve the flat–pack battery breakthrough, a research group has devised a three-dimensional structure. The structure is made-up of three parts: graphene, a conductive polymer, and carbon nanotubes. These three parts take the form of single atom-thick networks, resembling carbon formed cylinders.
Graphene is a topic that has been covered extensively on Digital Journal. The carbon bases material is very strong, light-weight and transparent. It also has superior conductive properties to copper (around four times better.)
Power is improved with the novel design because by separating out the layers of carbon researchers are able to use both surfaces in the structure for charge accumulation. The hardest part of the process was creating the three-dimensional structure. To achieve this, liquid graphene was mixed with a polymer. The combination was then solidified to form the carbon nanotubes.
The outcome was a lightweight, flexible composite that proved to be highly conductive. This should lead to some superfast battery devices.
The study was carried out at the University of Wollongong’s Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials. The findings have been published in the journal ACS Central Science. The paper is titled “Self-Assembled Multifunctional Hybrids: Toward Developing High-Performance Graphene-Based Architectures for Energy Storage Devices.”
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