Structural Zinc Battery Could Give Tiny Robots 72 Times More Energy

A new rechargeable zinc battery developed at the University of Michigan  integrates into the structure of a robot to provide much more energy. This approach to increasing capacity is vital for robots shrinking to the microscale and below. The new battery works by passing hydroxide ions between a zinc electrode and the air side through an electrolyte membrane. That membrane is partly a network of aramid nanofibers and partly a new water-based polymer gel. The gel helps shuttle the hydroxide ions between the electrodes. The gel and aramid nanofibers will also not catch fire if the battery is damaged, unlike the flammable electrolyte in lithium ion batteries.