Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Cartilage could be key to safe 'structural batteries'

Your knees and your smartphone battery have some surprisingly similar needs, a University of Michigan professor has discovered, and that new insight has led to a 'structural battery' prototype that incorporates a cartilage-like material to make the batteries highly durable and easy to shape.

CREDIT
Evan Doughtry
Your knees and your smartphone battery have some surprisingly similar needs, a University of Michigan professor has discovered, and that new insight has led to a 'structural battery' prototype that incorporates a cartilage-like material to make the batteries highly durable and easy to shape. CREDIT Evan Doughtry

Abstract:
-Your knees and your smartphone battery have some surprisingly similar needs, a University of Michigan professor has discovered, and that new insight has led to a "structural battery" prototype that incorporates a cartilage-like material to make the batteries highly durable and easy to shape.

Cartilage could be key to safe 'structural batteries'

Ann Arbor, MI | Posted on January 11th, 2019

The idea behind structural batteries is to store energy in structural components--the wing of a drone or the bumper of an electric vehicle, for example. They've been a long-term goal for researchers and industry because they could reduce weight and extend range. But structural batteries have so far been heavy, short-lived or unsafe.

In a study published in ACS Nano, the researchers describe how they made a damage-resistant rechargeable zinc battery with a cartilage-like solid electrolyte. They showed that the batteries can replace the top casings of several commercial drones. The prototype cells can run for more than 100 cycles at 90 percent capacity, and withstand hard impacts and even stabbing without losing voltage or starting a fire.

"A battery that is also a structural component has to be light, strong, safe and have high capacity. Unfortunately, these requirements are often mutually exclusive," said Nicholas Kotov, the Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Engineering, who led the research.

Harnessing the properties of cartilage

To sidestep these trade-offs, the researchers used zinc--a legitimate structural material--and branched nanofibers that resemble the collagen fibers of cartilage.

"Nature does not have zinc batteries, but it had to solve a similar problem," Kotov said. "Cartilage turned out to be a perfect prototype for an ion-transporting material in batteries. It has amazing mechanics, and it serves us for a very long time compared to how thin it is. The same qualities are needed from solid electrolytes separating cathodes and anodes in batteries."

In our bodies, cartilage combines mechanical strength and durability with the ability to let water, nutrients and other materials move through it. These qualities are nearly identical to those of a good solid electrolyte, which has to resist damage from dendrites while also letting ions flow from one electrode to the other.

Dendrites are tendrils of metal that pierce the separator between the electrodes and create a fast lane for electrons, shorting the circuit and potentially causing a fire. Zinc has previously been overlooked for rechargeable batteries because it tends to short out after just a few charge/discharge cycles.

Not only can the membranes made by Kotov's team ferry zinc ions between the electrodes, they can also stop zinc's piercing dendrites. Like cartilage, the membranes are composed of ultrastrong nanofibers interwoven with a softer ion-friendly material.

In the batteries, aramid nanofibers--the stuff in bulletproof vests--stand in for collagen, with polyethylene oxide (a chain-like, carbon-based molecule) and a zinc salt replacing soft components of cartilage.

Demonstrating safety and utility

To make working cells, the team paired the zinc electrodes with manganese oxide--the combination found in standard alkaline batteries. But in the rechargeable batteries, the cartilage-like membrane replaces the standard separator and alkaline electrolyte. As secondary batteries on drones, the zinc cells can extend the flight time by 5 to 25 percent--depending on the battery size, mass of the drone and flight conditions.

Safety is critical to structural batteries, so the team deliberately damaged their cells by stabbing them with a knife. In spite of multiple "wounds," the battery continued to discharge close to its design voltage. This is possible because there is no liquid to leak out.

For now, the zinc batteries are best as secondary power sources because they can't charge and discharge as quickly as their lithium ion brethren. But Kotov's team intends to explore whether there is a better partner electrode that could improve the speed and longevity of zinc rechargeable batteries.

The research was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and National Science Foundation. Kotov teaches in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He is also a professor of materials science and engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Nicole Casal Moore

734-647-7087

Copyright © University of Michigan

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

'Hot spots' increase efficiency of solar desalination: Rice University engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% June 19th, 2019

New record: 3D-printed optical-electronic integration June 18th, 2019

Can break junction techniques still offer quantitative information at single-molecule level June 18th, 2019

Small currents for big gains in spintronics: A new low-power magnetic switching component could aid spintronic devices June 14th, 2019

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

'Hot spots' increase efficiency of solar desalination: Rice University engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% June 19th, 2019

New record: 3D-printed optical-electronic integration June 18th, 2019

Can break junction techniques still offer quantitative information at single-molecule level June 18th, 2019

Mysterious Majorana quasiparticle is now closer to being controlled for quantum computing: Princeton researchers detect a robust Majorana quasiparticle and show how it can be turned on and off June 14th, 2019

Possible Futures

New record: 3D-printed optical-electronic integration June 18th, 2019

Can break junction techniques still offer quantitative information at single-molecule level June 18th, 2019

Mysterious Majorana quasiparticle is now closer to being controlled for quantum computing: Princeton researchers detect a robust Majorana quasiparticle and show how it can be turned on and off June 14th, 2019

University of Konstanz researchers create uniform-shape polymer nanocrystals: Researchers from the University of Konstanz's CRC 1214 'Anisotropic Particles as Building Blocks: Tailoring Shape, Interactions and Structures' generate uniform-shape nanocrystals using direct polymeriz June 14th, 2019

Discoveries

'Hot spots' increase efficiency of solar desalination: Rice University engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% June 19th, 2019

New record: 3D-printed optical-electronic integration June 18th, 2019

Can break junction techniques still offer quantitative information at single-molecule level June 18th, 2019

University of Konstanz researchers create uniform-shape polymer nanocrystals: Researchers from the University of Konstanz's CRC 1214 'Anisotropic Particles as Building Blocks: Tailoring Shape, Interactions and Structures' generate uniform-shape nanocrystals using direct polymeriz June 14th, 2019

Announcements

'Hot spots' increase efficiency of solar desalination: Rice University engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% June 19th, 2019

New record: 3D-printed optical-electronic integration June 18th, 2019

Can break junction techniques still offer quantitative information at single-molecule level June 18th, 2019

Small currents for big gains in spintronics: A new low-power magnetic switching component could aid spintronic devices June 14th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

'Hot spots' increase efficiency of solar desalination: Rice University engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% June 19th, 2019

New record: 3D-printed optical-electronic integration June 18th, 2019

Can break junction techniques still offer quantitative information at single-molecule level June 18th, 2019

University of Konstanz researchers create uniform-shape polymer nanocrystals: Researchers from the University of Konstanz's CRC 1214 'Anisotropic Particles as Building Blocks: Tailoring Shape, Interactions and Structures' generate uniform-shape nanocrystals using direct polymeriz June 14th, 2019

Military

'Hot spots' increase efficiency of solar desalination: Rice University engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% June 19th, 2019

Mysterious Majorana quasiparticle is now closer to being controlled for quantum computing: Princeton researchers detect a robust Majorana quasiparticle and show how it can be turned on and off June 14th, 2019

Dashing the dream of ideal 'invisibility' cloaks for stress waves June 7th, 2019

Flexible generators turn movement into energy: Rice University's laser-induced graphene nanogenerators could power future wearables June 2nd, 2019

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Flexible generators turn movement into energy: Rice University's laser-induced graphene nanogenerators could power future wearables June 2nd, 2019

Russian scientists investigate new materials for Li-ion batteries of miniature sensors: Researchers are developing new materials for solid-state thin-film Li-ion batteries for micro and nanodevices May 31st, 2019

Building next gen smart materials with the power of sound May 28th, 2019

New way to beat the heat in electronics: Rice University lab's flexible insulator offers high strength and superior thermal conduction May 16th, 2019

Nanobiotechnology

DNA origami to scale-up molecular motors June 13th, 2019

A molecular glue to overcome cancer drug resistance? Small molecule drug may prevent chemotherapy resistance June 7th, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Present at Upcoming June 2019 Conferences June 2nd, 2019

Chemists build a better cancer-killing drill: Rice U.-designed molecular motors get an upgrade for activation with near-infrared light May 29th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project