Materials

Non-Flammable, Stretchable Battery to Power Wearables

A team from Stanford University  has developed a soft, stretchable battery that uses a special kind of plastic to store power more safely than the often flammable formulations used in traditional batteries. The experimental device could provide a safe and comfortable power source for wearable technologies that bend with the body. Lithium-ion batteries have previously used polymers as electrolytes but until now, those polymer electrolytes have been flowable gels that could potentially leak or burst into flame. The Stanford researchers developed a polymer that is solid and stretchable rather than flowable. In laboratory tests, the new battery maintained a constant power output even when squeezed and stretched to nearly twice its length. The thumbnail-sized prototype currently stores about half as much energy, ounce for ounce, as a comparably-sized traditional battery.