Solid electrolyte enables light batteries to replace structural elements: Page 2 of 2

January 25, 2019 //By Julien Happich
Solid electrolyte enables light batteries to replace structural elements
Getting their inspiration from nature, researchers from the University of Michigan have developed a solid state electrolyte able to efficiently transport zinc ions while being structurally robust and capable of withstanding not only elastic (reversible) but also plastic (irreversible) deformations.

A drone without cover and three different designs of
corrugated Zn/γ-MnO2 battery packs as a replacement
for the original device cover to supplement the main
power source.

The paper then reviews Zn/PZB-931/γ-MnO2 battery prototypes undergoing different deformations such as moulding, stamping and even cutting or stabbing (leak-proof by design) while they retained both their capacity and voltage. Next, they prove such corrugated battery packs could be used as direct replacement for original drone covers, acting both as a structural element and as a supplement power source while being light-enough that their integration would extend the drone’s total flight time.

“The replacement of the traditional alkaline electrolyte with a BANF composite drastically changes the mechanism of ion transport, electrode processes including the dendrite growth and results into a flexible, rechargeable battery with cyclability of over 100 cycles and over 90% charge retention” the authors wrote.

These exceptional mechanical properties combine with charge storage parameters comparable to those of lithium thin film batteries. Hence the authors conclude that such batteries could be designed into a large variety of corrugated shapes adaptable to specific load-bearing conditions, including those found in UAVs. For now, the zinc batteries are best as secondary power sources because they can’t charge and discharge as quickly as their lithium ion equivalent, the researchers plan to figure out a better partner electrode that could improve the speed and longevity of such zinc rechargeable batteries.

 

University of Michigan – www.umich.edu

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