LG Designs a New Type of Flexible Lithium-ion Battery
Our gadgets today owe their compact size to many different technological points. Among these, the most important point is perhaps the size factor flexibility of lithium-ion batteries. Without its comparatively high energy density, we would have had smartphones that are still the size of old “block-type” radios of the 20th century.
Despite its size versatility though, the standard Li-on battery is still technically incapable of being bent and shaped freely. There have actually been a number of flexible batteries introduced over the years, but they are just not efficient enough at this point and time. The latest flexible battery innovation however, seems to be different from its predecessors and proving to be very promising for future electronics.
LG Chem, one the largest South Korean-based chemical companies, has recently developed a new type of battery that would fit almost any design. It is a design that deviates far from the typical thin-film battery type, and instead is shaped somewhat like a thick wire. The source material describes the battery type as still the standard lithium-ion. The central core of the battery holds the spiral anode, and is made of copper that is coated with nickel-tin.
Since it is shaped like a wire, it can be twisted and coiled, shaped in a circle, and can even be tangled together. It would be totally indistinguishable from an ordinary wire of the same thickness should both wires have the same color. In fact, it can actually be called a “cable battery”.
But while the wire design is sufficiently innovative, its efficiency is its more important plus factor. To determine its actual efficiency, the developers first tested the battery without bending or twisting it. They used a 4th gen. iPod shuffle and a standard red LED screen as the load. They then tried twisting it into different shapes, while testing its performance again after each form change. The result of the test showed that its power output is not affected by changes in shape at all, and can continue working no matter how much you twist and turn it.
The primary objective of LG Chem as of this moment is to have the batteries ready for mass production as soon as possible. Though their prototype have proved to be fairly efficient, they are still currently searching for other alternative designs and materials, and it would take quite some time before they can successfully develop one that would be ready for today’s electronic gadgets.
What do these cable batteries signify for the electronics industry? It means that general gadget design in the world of consumer electronics might change once again. Most of our handheld technologies have already been developed to the point that we can design and create flexible versions of them. Screen technology for example have the OLED screen. Even touchscreens will be flatter and more flexible with the development of graphene. One of the only major innovations left would be to develop a flexible yet efficient battery, and the first steps are being made toward this goal with LG’s development of their cable battery.
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