Flexible Battery for Foldable Laptops

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We had not heard of Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland before we found this snippet about a foldable battery. Thus we were unaware its Ionic Liquid Laboratory was such a hotbed of scientific investigation. Moreover its research themes include catalytic processes, molecular materials, and synthetic and bio organic chemistry. Its latest innovation is a flexible battery that is non-flammable, and decomposes too.

How the Search Began for a Flexible Battery in Belfast

flexible battery

DEFIBRILLATOR Implant: Bruce Blaus: CC 3.0

The Queen’s University researchers were dissatisfied with the metal-based batteries in medical implants. They were concerned rigid defibrillators and pacemakers could cause patients discomfort.

While reading their report, we discovered there are actually two implants. The batteries are under the patient’s skin, while device itself is in their heart.

“The implant under the skin is wired to the device. This can cause patients discomfort as it is rubs against the skin,” a scientist explains. “For this reason batteries need to be compatible to the human body. Ideally we would like them to be flexible so that they can adapt to body shapes.”

The Electrical Potential of this Revolutionary Battery

flexible battery

PACEMAKER Implant: Bruce Blaus: CC 3.0

The flexible supercapacitor avoids flammable solvents so there is no risk of explosion. Its electrodes are long-lasting polymer-biopolymer composites, while its ionic liquids form safer electrolytes.

Using decomposable organic materials such as cellulose as ‘natural feedstock’ for the flexible battery adds environmental spinoffs too. So all-in-all this sounds a good idea in principle.

But Is This Sufficiently Practical to Go to Market?

The research leader believes the batteries could be on the market and powering phones in the next five years.  “Everyone wants to go lightweight and everyone wants to be flexible,” she explains. “If the battery goes flexible … electronics and equipment can go flexible, it’s interesting and exciting.”

Just imagine if we could roll up our laptops, fold our smartphones and pop them in our pockets.  And knowing there was no possibility of their flexible battery catching fire either.


Batteries with a Heart in Defibrillators

Nanotechnology and Polymer Technology in Thin-film Batteries

Preview Image: Queens University Flexible Battery

Queen’s University Research Report


About Author

I developed an abiding interest in electricity during my fourteen years managing facilities at a nuclear power station. I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally after I fled the corporate world. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. Especially writing on this site, because in my small way I can contribute to a better environment for future generations, moving in technology I never imagined.

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