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Rice University Students Create Flexible Battery

April 28, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

While we already have a number of devices available to us that come with flexible displays, we really don’t see much in the way of other device hardware having that same bendable trait. That could all soon change with a laboratory out of Rice University who is apparently working on making flexible batteries a reality. The team of chemists(we assume they’re all chemists) including student chemist James Tour set out to develop such a flexible material and were able to achieve the results they were looking for to some degree it seems like.

James states that he and the other students were able to produce this flexible material that was made with nanoporous nickel-fluoride electrodes layered around a solid electrolyte to deliver battery-like supercapacitor performance that combines the best qualities of a high-energy battery and a high-powered supercapacitor without the lithium found in commercial batteries today. If we’re reading things right, it seems like the team of students was able to bend the flexible battery of sorts 1,000 times, while also charging and de-charging it 10,000 times and it was able to hold 76% of it’s charge capacity throughout the process. Pretty impressive. The tiny electrochemical capacitor is about a hundredth of an inch thick, which is plenty thin enough to house inside today’s smartphones, although the battery is not near a complete and final stage at this point so who knows if it would stay this small or grow by the time it would be ready for commercialization.

According to postdoctoral researcher Yang Yang, the team of chemists is already having conversation with major companies to look into making this product a commercial deal, which means we could see flexible batteries become a thing soon then we thought. Yang doesn’t mention which companies him and the students have been talking to, but we’d have to suspect that some of the OEMs we’re already familiar with producing flexible display products would some of the most likely candidates to be on the list. Having the Flexible battery in place could open up the doors for more truly flexible devices that could have much more of an arc than what we see on something like the LG G Flex.