Stretchable fabric-based lithium-ion battery for wearables

Stretchable fabric-based lithium-ion battery for wearables

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers in the US have developed a successful prototype of a stretchable fabric-based lithium-ion battery.

The team at the University of Houston used conductive silver fabric as a platform and current collector with a polymer electrolyte. The protype can stretch by as much as 15%.

“The weaved silver fabric was ideal for this since it mechanically deforms or stretches and still provides electrical conduction pathways necessary for the battery electrode to function well. The battery electrode must allow movement of both electrons and ions,” said Prof Haleh Ardebili at UH. The first author of the paper is Bahar Moradi Ghadi, a former doctoral student who based her dissertation on this research.

“I was interested in understanding the fundamental science and mechanisms related to stretching an electrochemical cell and its components,” she said. “This was an unexplored field in science and engineering and a great area to investigate. Although we have created a prototype, we are still working on optimizing the battery design, materials and fabrication,” she said.

Ardebili is optimistic that the prototype for a stretchable fabric-based battery will pave the way for many types of applications such as smart space suits, consumer electronics embedded in garments that monitor people’s health and devices that interact with humans at various levels.

There are many possible designs and applications for safe, light, flexible and stretchable batteries, but there is still some work to be done before they are available on the market.

“Commercial viability depends on many factors such as scaling up the manufacturability of the product, cost and other factors,” she said. “We are working toward those considerations and goals as we optimize and enhance our stretchable battery.”


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