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

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Exotic “second sound” phenomenon observed in pencil lead: At relatively balmy temperatures, heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite, study reports March 15th, 2019

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

Exotic “second sound” phenomenon observed in pencil lead: At relatively balmy temperatures, heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite, study reports March 15th, 2019

Researchers reverse the flow of time on IBM's quantum computer March 14th, 2019

When semiconductors stick together, materials go quantum: A new study led by Berkeley Lab reveals how aligned layers of atomically thin semiconductors can yield an exotic new quantum material March 12th, 2019

Possible Futures

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Exotic “second sound” phenomenon observed in pencil lead: At relatively balmy temperatures, heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite, study reports March 15th, 2019

Discoveries

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Review of the recent advances of 2D nanomaterials in Lit-ion batteries March 15th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Announcements

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Exotic “second sound” phenomenon observed in pencil lead: At relatively balmy temperatures, heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite, study reports March 15th, 2019

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

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

New method to reduce uranium concentration in contaminated water March 18th, 2019

Review of the recent advances of 2D nanomaterials in Lit-ion batteries March 15th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Military

Fish-Inspired Material Changes Color Using Nanocolumns March 18th, 2019

Exotic “second sound” phenomenon observed in pencil lead: At relatively balmy temperatures, heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite, study reports March 15th, 2019

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields: MIT researchers find a new way to make nanoscale measurements of fields in more than one dimension March 15th, 2019

Lightweight metal foams become bone hard and explosion proof after being nanocoated March 14th, 2019

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

Review of the recent advances of 2D nanomaterials in Lit-ion batteries March 15th, 2019

Now made in Japan – Asian battery manufacturers welcome highly conductive nanotube additive March 7th, 2019

New blueprint for understanding, predicting and optimizing complex nanoparticles: Guidelines have the potential to transform the fields of optoelectronics, bio-imaging and energy harvesting March 1st, 2019

Researchers create ultra-lightweight ceramic material that withstands extreme temperatures: UCLA-led team develops highly durable aerogel that could ultimately be an upgrade for insulation on spacecraft February 15th, 2019

Nanobiotechnology

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Begins Dosing in Phase 1 Study of ARO-APOC3 for Treatment of Hypertriglyceridemia March 11th, 2019

Computer-designed vaccine elicits potent antibodies against RSV: The nanoparticle platform for this respiratory syncytial virus study will be applied to vaccine research on flu, HIV, and more; Seattle startup Icosavax will advance related clinical trials March 8th, 2019

Nanotechnology Gives Mice Night Vision—Are Humans Next? March 2nd, 2019

CEA-Leti Breakthrough Opens Path to New Vaccine for HIV: Lipidots Platform Strengthens Immune Response to Protein That Is Key to HIV Vaccine; Results Presented in Nature Publishing Group’s npj Vaccines February 27th, 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