World’s First Flexible, Imprintable Li-ion Battery Unveiled

20 January 2013, 7:06 am EST By Binu Paul email: Mobile & Apps

At a time when the world is one step closer to experience flexible smartphones, a group of South Korean scientists announced that they have successfully developed the world's first bendable lithium ion batteries.

The breakthrough development was achieved in a joint research project led by Professor Lee Sang-young at the Ulsan National Institute of Technology along with researchers from nine other institutes. The team published their discovery in a research paper titled "Imprintable, bendable and shape-conformable polymer electrolytes for versatile-shaped lithium ion batteries." The paper was published in the German weekly science journal 'Advanced Materials.'

This is considered to be a major breakthrough in the ongoing research to create a flexible phone. According to the report by Korea Joongang Daily, scientists used "imprintable, fluid-like polymer electrolytes", to create the flexible batteries. This method is said to be more flexible and stable than the traditional way of pouring liquefied electrolytes into square-shaped cases. The new method reduces the chances of explosion during manufacture because it does not require the square-shaped battery cases. "Just like spreading jam on bread, spreading the fluid-like Electrolytes on electrodes and exposing them to ultraviolet rays for 30 seconds is how the new rechargeable battery is created," the report said.

According to South Korea's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, which partly funded the project, the batteries use nano materials that can be applied to any surface to create fluid-like polymer electrolytes.

"Conventional lithium-ion batteries that use liquefied Electrolytes had problems with safety as the film that separates the electrolytes may melt under heat, in which case the positive and negative may come in contact, causing an explosion," an official at the ministry was quoted in the report. "Because the new battery uses flexible but solid materials, and not liquids, it can be expected to show a much higher level of stability than conventional rechargeable batteries."

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