The materials research scientists at Brunel University London have become the first to simply and affordably 3D print a flexible, wearable ‘battery’.
The technique opens the way for novel designs for super-efficient, wearable power for phones, electric cars, medical implants like pacemakers and more.
The printer squirts stacks of silicone, glue and gel electrolyte pastes like a layer cake, to make what looks like a clear festival wristband. Sandwiched inside is a supercapacitor, which stores energy like a battery, but on its surface and without chemical reactions.
Researchers in many countries have found new ways to make flexible supercapacitators. But their techniques, which include 3D laser selective melting machines, are expensive and use different machines to print different parts.
The process is easy to copy, the study says, and shows 3D printing using paste extrusion can be used to develop more sophisticated electronic devices with different mixes of paste.