Producing and maintaining sustainable technologies like electric cars and solar systems rely on the progress and performance of the batteries. Advancement in battery technologies has been the center of interest for the researchers and innovators these days, and the product we are going to cover today is one of the most fascinating strides made in this niche as yet. Addressing issues like increasing battery life and slowing down the discharge rate has been the center of attention for almost all the researchers in the recent past. However, in this new study, the innovators at Iowa State University have focused on issues that can’t be considered mainstream.
We tend to get too consumed by the trend of ensuring a clean technology that is more long-lasting and efficient, but we often forget that some devices are meant to be temporary. Technologies like short term medical implants and environmental sensors are specifically designed so that they can be used for a certain amount of time and then can be removed safely.
Keeping this fact in mind, the scientists created a battery that would break down itself at the end of the product’s lifetime, thus making the job of device recovery easier. They have done this by developing a battery that can quickly dissolve when it is dropped in water. It is a lithium ion based battery capable of producing 2.5 volts that can power a desktop calculator for about 15 minutes. The research team called it the first “physical-chemical hybrid transient” battery which has the perfect combination of power, stability, and shelf life required for extended practical use.
As explained in the Journal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics, the term transient means that unlike the conventional electronics that are designed to last for extensive periods of time, this type of electronics will be able to operate over a typically short and well-defined period. They will also be capable of undergoing fast self-deconstruction when their transiency properties are triggered.
The battery appears to be quite conventional in appearance but distinguishes itself when it is dropped in water. When this happens, it dissipates within 30 minutes! The casing swells and breaks the electrodes apart, thus dissolving them away within minutes. Although the nano-particles don’t completely disappear, they do disperse far enough to be considered unrecoverable.
The battery’s dimensions include 1 millimeter in thickness, 5 millimeters in length, and 6 millimeters in width. It consists of eight layers, including the anode, cathode, and electrode. The whole battery is wrapped in a polyvinyl alcohol-based polymer for its soluble properties.
This kind of technology has a great potential in the future if it is paired with an equally self-destructive device for other potential applications. We can see patients avoiding the pain of removing their medical implants or getting rid of worrying about the environmental sensors polluting the environment as they could be washed away in the rain. Previously, similar attempts have been made to create self-dissolving electronics (as in the video below), but this one has been the most productive and practical attempt till date.
Have anything else to add to this article? Let us know in the comments’ section below!