Laptop batteries made of jelly invented

Wibble-wobble wibble-wobble 'leccy on a plate

28 Reg comments Got Tips?

Jelly could be the answer to the problem of cheaper batteries for electronics, according to some boffins over at Leeds University.

They've come up with a type of polymer gel that could replace the liquid electrolytes used in rechargeable lithium cells. And of course, because it's jelly-like, it can be moulded into all shapes and sizes to suit the device it's intended for.

"The polymer gel looks like a solid film, but it actually contains about 70 per cent liquid electrolyte," says Professor Ian Ward, head honcho on the project. "It's made using the same principles as making a jelly: you add lots of hot water to 'gelatine' - in this case a polymer and electrolyte mix - and as it cools it sets to form a solid but flexible mass."

The technology has already been licensed to an American company, Polystor Energy Corporation, which is conducting trials to get the jelly-cells ready for use in portable electronics.

The benefits of the new tech are the usual good ones - safer, cheaper and lighter. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are currently the top choice for laptops, phones, cameras and other mobile devices, but they're not always the most reliable. Big tech firms like Dell and HP often have battery issues leading to big recall programmes, including the off-chance that they might explode or catch fire.

With the jelly-cells, the lamination manufacturing process used to make them "seals the electrodes together so that there is no excess flammable solvent and liquid electrolyte" - so much less chance of fire or explosion then.

That same process, where the jelly is sandwiched between an anode and a cathode at high speed, gets you a cell that's highly conductive but just nanometres thick. And, luckily for mass production, making the cells this way is "fast, efficient and low cost". ®

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER


Keep Reading

Rejoice! China's smartphone market drops 10% as 5G purchases surge

The Middle Kingdom is thought to be a few months further down the road to economic recovery and smartmobes are discretionary purchases

MediaTek trumpets cheap gaming chipsets for strange subset of people who enjoy PUBG on their smartphone

With devices packing Helios G25/G35 coming in at £60-£80 and £1,000+ for a desktop PC, we see the appeal

Google creates secure file locker for countries where people often share smartphones

Handy service for India and Nigeria, or feature creep that constricts competition?

MWC now stands for 'Most Won't Come': Intel, Vivo and MediaTek drop out of mobile industry kneesup over coronavirus

Plus: We know people are dying but OMG! China smartphone sales could plunge 50%, say analysts

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

Oh, snap

Coming live from Next@Acer in Taipei: Hardware refreshes, new ruggedised line – and, er, an energy drink

A plan to inject life into the flagging PC industry? Meet the Predator Shot: putting the spin in spinach

More than one-fifth of smartphone sales evaporate in China as pandemic grips Middle Kingdom

Where's there a will, there Huawei! America's fave bogeyman does the biz at home, is the only handset maker to grow

Xiaomi, phone home: Chinese everything shop currently making most sales on smartphones

For now. (Having mattresses and smartbogs to fall back on doesn't sound so nuts anymore)

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020