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Old Aug 13, 2007, 08:51 PM   #1
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Researchers Develop Bendable Battery

WASHINGTON — It's a battery that looks like a piece of paper and can be bent or twisted, trimmed with scissors or molded into any shape needed.

While the battery is only a prototype a few inches square right now, the researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who developed it have high hopes for it in electronics and other fields that need smaller, lighter power sources.

"We would like to scale this up to the point where you can imagine printing batteries like a newspaper. That would be the ultimate," Robert Linhardt a professor at the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at RPI said in a telephone interview.

The development is reported in this week's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Unlike other batteries, Linhardt explained, it is an integrated device, not a combination of pieces.

The battery uses paper infused with an electrolyte and carbon nanotubes that are embedded in the paper. The carbon nanotubes form the electrodes, the paper is the separator and the electrolyte allows the current to flow.

Students at the school in Troy, N.Y., were the inspiration for the work, said Linhardt, whose students were working on methods to dissolve paper and cast it into membranes for use in dialysis machines.

Meanwhile, students of Pulickel Ajayan in RPI's materials science department were trying to make carbon nanotube composites using polymers.

The two groups got together and realized they could use paper instead of polymers and combine the two projects.

Then came Omkaram Nalamasu's students, also at RPI, who said the project—a thin sheet black on one side and white on the other—looked like an electrical device.

And over about 18 months, the groups developed the projects, into a battery, a capacitor, which stores electricity and a combination of the two.

Ajayan sees potential uses in combination with solar cells, perhaps layers of the paper batteries that could store the electricity generated until it is needed, he said in a telephone interview.

This will do wonders for cell phones and iPods. Smaller and faster.
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 09:34 PM   #2
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Cool. I just drove through Troy today! My cousin also teaches there, but in Anthropology I think.
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 12:36 AM   #3
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Bah. RPI. It was cool until I got to that point.

Football rivals since 1903 you see.
puisqu'on est jeune et con, puisqu'ils sont vieux et fous. . .
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 09:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by OutThere View Post
Bah. RPI. It was cool until I got to that point.

Football rivals since 1903 you see.
You mean your school football team is so bad that they had to pick the "Engineers" as a rival?
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 01:47 PM   #5
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"Bendable batteries".. Perhaps Nokia should look into this. They're staring down a hefty battery recall right now.
..and I can't resist adding that it boggles the mind to consider how bendable batteries might revolutionize the "adult toy" industry.
"There's going to be a lot of garbage today." -Willy Wonka
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