Spray on batteries could be applied to almost any surface...
Researchers at Rice University have developed a spray on battery that can be painted on in layers, on almost any surface. The new design could have significant impact on the way we integrate power sources with electronic devices.
The new spray on lithium-ion cell is essentially no different from traditional batteries, which are comprised of two electrodes, a separator, and electrolytes. However the method in which these components are applied is nothing short of revolutionary.
The team, led by graduate student Neelam Singh, realized that all the components of a battery could be liquefied and applied in layers to any given surface. Then the cells only a power source, from a solar panel for example, to capture and store energy.
Layers of the spray on battery
Not only were the team able to demonstrate the ability to apply the battery on almost any surface including glass, metal, glazed ceramics and flexible polymers substrates, they also managed to show how the cells can be connected to provide more power.
In tests 9 ‘painted battery’ cells were linked together to collect energy from a solar panel. When fully charged the array was able to power a small LED sign that spelt out RICE for 6 hours.
Of course, there’s still some way to go before the technology could see real-world application, but the team hinted at everything from small-scale aerosols applicators to large industrial spray guns, so it’s clear they are thinking about the bigger picture.
But if future modifications make the technology viable for the consumer market the implications are undoubtedly huge – think past space saving for portable wireless devices, and think buildings, cars, and factories.