In what may be one of the greatest advances in the field of “dead” batteries, scientists have published research showing a type of structural battery at least ten times greater than any previous experiment of its kind. This battery is called structural because it can support the weight as part of a structure, as if the beams of a house could accumulate energy.
This, in practice, means that the batteries of future electric cars, smartphones and other devices could become weightless, while maintaining the properties of storing energy. And the idea is very simple: if the battery is an integral part of the body or other structural details of the device, it cannot be counted with an extra weight. In other words, there will no longer be an accumulator separate from the equipment.
In the new study, published in late January (27), in the journal Advanced Energy & Sustainability Research, scientists from Chalmers University and Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology reveal how engineering materials can store electrical energy in structural load paths.
The usefulness of structural batteries
Obvious users of the new batteries will be electric vehicles that for decades have faced the dilemma of having to deal with a massive volume of batteries, which take up space and increase weight, without any gain to the real structure of the car. With the use of new technology, these vehicles would have to be redesigned to carry the weight of the batteries themselves.
To make this technique feasible, the researchers placed a layer of dampening glass fabric between each positive and negative electrode, then packed everything with a polymer electrolyte from space engineering, and cured in an oven. This resulted in a sturdy, flat battery cell, with good conductivity and excellent resistance in tensile tests in all directions.
The next step is to improve the current performance of the battery, from 24 Wh / kg to 75 Wh / kg, which can occur with the use of even lighter and more resistant materials.