How to ensure that batteries take up the space available in the devices? As we know, the shapes constrained by the current models force the builders to be ingenious. This is for example the case in the MacBook Air where Apple had superimposed layers of different length to better adhere to the bevel profile of this computer.
But the ideal solution would be to perform a 3D battery printing to give it the perfect shape, one that would exploit every nook and cranny of the interior of a machine to maximize its capacity. In this little game, researchers from Duke University (North Carolina) and Texas State University scored a first point, according to their article published in the scientific journal ACS Applied Energy.
Make a product that is itself a battery
Their approach goes further than the impression of a simple battery, they think rather that part of the device can become a battery. It is from this concept that they have succeeded in printing a circular component in the shape of a bracelet, ideal for a connected watch. To achieve this, scientists have succeeded in enriching polyacetic acid (or PLA, the plant-based plastic typically used by 3D printers) with materials needed for storing electricity.
They first bathed the PLA in an electrolyte solution to impregnate it. In addition to this, graphene and carbon nanotubes were used to improve the conductivity of the assembly. They then connected a simple LED simulating for example the screen of a connected watch. It was actually turned on … for 60 seconds. The storage capacity of the device still remains to improve sharply, but this first track is very encouraging.
In the same vein, researchers have developed glasses whose lenses are replaced by LCD screens. The branches are made with the same enriched PLA and feed the screens. Without energy, the glasses are opaque, powered they become transparent. Still largely perfectible, the process is posed in any case as a new track in the quest for inventive batteries, more flexible to integrate than current lithium-ion models.