A Flexible, Stretchable Lithium-Ion Battery Design From KIST Matches Traditional Designs' Capacities

Constructed entirely from materials which contribute to energy storage, this stretchable battery doesn't sacrifice capacity.

Gareth Halfacree
a month agoHardware 101 / Wearables
A new battery made entirely of flexible materials offers stretchability and high capacity energy storage. (📷: Kang et al)

Engineers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) have published details of a new micro-honeycomb structure which allows for the production of a lithium-ion battery flexible enough to allow for both bending and stretching.

"The stretchable lithium-ion battery developed through this research," claims KIST's Dr. Jeon Gon Son of his team's research, "is expected to present a new paradigm in term of stretchable energy storage systems for the further development of wearable and body-implantable electronic devices."

Making a stretchable battery required several components to be modified: The team's work saw the creation of a honeycomb-like graphene electrode combined with a stretchable gel electrolyte, which once assembled alongside a stretchable separator acts like an accordion to stretch and recompress according to external forces.

While rival scientists have developed their own takes on stretchable batteries - such as this design from Stanford University and associated academic institutions, unveiled earlier this year — the KIST design doesn't rely on any traditional stretchable materials like rubber. Instead, every material used in the battery's production is part of the energy storage system — meaning that the completed battery's energy capacity of 5.05mAh/cm² equals that of non-stretchable equivalents.

The team's work has been published in the journal ACS Nano under closed-access terms.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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