A group of researchers have discovered a method for spray painting batteries onto any surface. Outlined in Scientific Reports each battery is made up of five separate layers, each with its own composition. Once fully sprayed onto a surface the batteries are just 0.5mm thick.
The technique is effective enough to be applied on steel, glass, ceramic tile and in one demonstration a beer stein.
The new technique is meant to offer battery technology to new products with shapes and sizes that have made it difficult to fit traditional batteries into new form factors.
Rice University researchers in Texas chemically optimized the new spray-on battery recipe for each of the five layers required. The battery still uses a blend of chemicals common in lithium-ion batteries and new materials such as carbon nanotubes which are essentially tiny straw-like pieces of carbon with amazing electronic properties.
Scientists say the hardest part was finding a separator material that kept the whole spray stack in one piece, a material they discovered in poly-methylmethacrylate, a substance that would stick to curved surfaces.
So what does this mean for the industrial sector? According to Pulickel Ajayan and his associated:
“This means traditional packaging for batteries has given way to a much more flexible approach that allows all kinds of new design and integration possibilities for storage devices.”
“There has been a lot of interest in recent times in creating power sources with an improved form factor, and this is a big step forward in that direction.”
Here’s a video demonstrating the new spray paint batteries: