Innovation That Matters

Rechargeable battery can be painted onto almost any surface

Work & Lifestyle

Researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have developed a paintable battery that consists of layers of conductive paint and can be charged using solar energy.

Regular readers of Springwise may remember our article about On/Off paint, a conductive wall paint that acts as a switch upon touch. Now researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have gone one step further, developing a paintable battery that can be sprayed onto almost any surface and recharged using sunlight. Traditional batteries consist of five layers – two current collectors, a cathode, an anode and a polymer separator – rolled into a cylinder. The team behind the paintable battery developed liquefied versions of these five layers, allowing them to be spray-painted in their respective orders onto any surface, then linked to wires to transmit the energy. The materials were tested on various bases, including plastic, glass and steel. In one trial, the layers were sprayed onto nine ceramic tiles, which when charged using solar energy and an AC supply, powered a set of LEDs for six hours at 2.4 volts. The layers were also discharged and recharged 60 times with only a small drop in capacity. The following video shows the paintable battery in action: The research team hopes to develop and improve the battery and prepare it for use in industry, which it claims would be straight-forward considering the existing use of spray-painting in mass production. Could this be the end of bulky portable power?



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