Bending power

25 January 2021

Researchers at the University of California, US, have developed a flexible, rechargeable zinc-based battery with a much higher capacity than lithium batteries. The team behind the development say that the battery is both polymer-based and printable.

Zinc-anode chemistry is of interest in the flexible battery market due to its low cost, high capacity, it can be recharged and safe chemistry. But in most cases, commercial zinc-based printed batteries cannot be recharged and have low capacity, making them suitable for low power disposable electronics only.

The newly developed batteries were shown to power a flexible display system equipped with a micro controller and Bluetooth, and performed better than commercial lithium coin cells.

One notable aspect of the battery is its relatively high resilience towards mechanical bending and stretching, which comes from the use of flexible materials, the researchers said.

Alexander Noy, a bioelectronics researcher at the University of California, Merced commented; ‘Wearable sensor technology and electronic skin technology have seen tremendous development in the last decade, but powering them always remained an issue. Having a small high capacity, yet flexible power source that could be part of the device can give these technologies a boost.’

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