The proliferation of solar, wind, and tidal electric generation, and the emergence of hybrid electric automobiles demands flexible and reliable methods of high-capacity electrical storage. A team of Penn State materials scientists is developing ferroelectric polymer-based capacitors that can deliver power more rapidly, and are much lighter than conventional batteries.
The researchers developed a polymer of polyvinylidene fluoride and trifluoroethylene which, with the addition of chlorotrifluoroethylene, had a very high dielectric permittivity at room temperature. They found that by altering the amounts of the various chemical components of the polymer, they could tune the dielectric property and energy density. Dielectric polymers could also substitute for the dielectric silicon dioxide layer currently used in computers. Their use would open the way for flexible electronics applications, such as foldable screens and