3D printed lithium-ion batteries you say?
New research shows that it is possible.
The science behind it is complex and in its infancy, but it could lead to big changes for the lithium market.
The 3D Printed Battery Proof of Concept
One of the major problems impeding more widespread use of lithium-ion batteries is shape — they just don’t seem to fit in things very well.
Laptop batteries are bulky, and phone and watch batteries need to work around the shape of the battery with their design.
Researchers at Duke University are on their way to solving the problem and have built a device to demonstrate the concept.
Source: ACS Publications
The researchers infused polylactic acid with a mixture of ethyl methyl carbonate, propylene carbonate, and lithium perchlorate to get an ionic conductivity comparable to that of polymer and hybrid electrolytes.
The result is a chemical ink mix that is printable.
The bangle battery could power the light for 60 seconds.
While this is just the beginning of research, the proof of concept bangle could form the basis for more widespread use of lithium ion batteries.
Higher charge capacity developments
3D printing could also improve the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.
The method involves printing electrodes with porous architectures in a lattice shape.
Rahul Panat, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, outlines how this works:
‘Such architectures allow the lithium to penetrate through the electrode volume leading to very high electrode utilization, and thereby higher energy storage capacity. In normal batteries, 30-50 percent of the total electrode volume is unutilized. Our method overcomes this issue.’
Source: Carnegie Mellon University
The possibilities for application of these techniques could lead to increased demand for lithium in the coming years, as batteries become more adaptable and more powerful.
There are a number of ASX-listed lithium stocks to choose from and knowing which ones to pick is a daunting task.
For Money Morning