A group of scientists from Fundang University in Shanghai has developed a new type of fiber capable of storing energy and then charging personal gadgets and wearable medical devices. The authors of the project stated that 1 kg of material is capable of storing up to 85.69 Wh of energy. For comparison, the 228g iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 14Wh battery.
As part of the demonstration, the creators of the material performed wireless charging of a smartphone from a T-shirt made of this textile worn on a person. But the development can be applied not only to create a wearable power bank. Smart clothes are becoming a trend: socks were born that appreciate the jumping technique of their owner; swimwear that remind you to apply sun cream; there are even yoga pants that correct for incorrect postures. In most cases, all such devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which do not bend or work in water. The textile fiber battery represents a major step forward and opens up new possibilities for wearable electronics.
The authors of the project created a lithium-ion battery in the form of a fiber, using an aluminum conductor coated with cobalt oxides – it became the anode, as well as a copper conductor covered with graphite – the cathode. To prevent short circuits, a special insulating cover was installed between them. Further, scientists found that as the length of the fiber increases, its internal resistance decreases, after which it evens out. Based on this discovery, they developed an industrial process that allows the production of fiber batteries several meters long, which can be used as a cloth for clothing.
In a series of tests, this material retained 90.5% of its capacity after 500 charge-discharge cycles. He continued to work while being folded, washed in water and even punched with a knife. In one experiment, the material continued to charge the iPad while a 1,300 kg vehicle passed through it. However, said the head of the research group Peng Huisheng, the energy density of this material is still inferior to that of traditional batteries. But with sufficient funding and technical support, mass production of such batteries can be launched in a period of 2 to 5 years.