Lithium batteries are out and “jelly” batteries are in. Maybe.
Ian Wards, a physics research professor at the University of Leeds in the U.K., has created a polymer gel that can be used to create a new type of battery that’s cheaper, lighter, and more efficient than existing ones.
This gel could be formed into a thin, flexible film that would lie between the battery’s electrodes. It would eliminate one of the needs for traditional lithium batteries—the need to have multiple cells kept apart by a porous polymer film separator.
“The polymer gel looks like a solid film, but it actually contains about 70 percent liquid electrolyte,” said Ward in a release. “It’s made using the same principles as making a jelly: you add lots of hot water to ‘gelatin’—in this case there is a polymer and electrolyte mix—and as it cools it sets to form a solid but flexible mass.”
In addition to decreasing the weight and size of batteries, these can be made at approximately 10 percent of the total cost of creating a lithium battery. They are also less likely to overheat and catch on fire.
Would you use a battery like this?
I’m no expert, but I can’t see many cons. It’s cheaper, safer, lighter, and more efficient.
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