Semi-Liquid Metal Anode for Next-Generation Batteries
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a semi-liquid lithium metal-based anode. Lithium batteries made using this new electrode type could have a higher capacity and be much safer than typical lithium metal-based batteries that use lithium foil as the anode. The dual-conductive polymer/carbon composite matrix has lithium microparticles evenly distributed throughout. The matrix remains flowable at room temperatures, which allows it to create a sufficient level of contact with the solid electrolyte. The anode could be used to create high-capacity batteries for electric vehicles and specialized batteries for wearable devices.
Contact: Jocelyn Duffy, Carnegie Mellon University
System for Repairing Cracks in Structures
NASA Langley Research Center has developed a coating that heals cracks in metal components such as aircraft and bridges. The metal structure is coated with a low-temperature healing agent and when a crack is produced under cyclic load, it is then subjected to an external heat source. The component is then processed in a vacuum. The coating has been prototyped on a titanium alloy sheet with an indium-tin eutectic alloy coating. Development is ongoing to produce a coating that does not require a vacuum and uses an integrated heat source. The system improves structural reliability and safety, and extends working life of structures.
Contact: Langley Research Center
Optical Stain-Resistant Plastic Based on Mushroom Structures
Technologies like solar panels and LEDs require a cover material that repels water, dirt, and oil while still letting light through. New materials would allow these devices to be incorporated into applications like curtains, clothes, and paper. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering created a flexible optical plastic inspired by the shape of Enoki mushrooms. The plastic sheet surface has tall, thin nanostructures that have larger tops, like the mushroom. Nanostructures in the coating make the plastic sheet superomniphobic, repelling a range of liquids while maintaining high transparency. The plastic could be used in flexible lighting or wearable technologies.