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Power Hardware Technology

Researchers Spray-Paint Batteries Onto Almost Any Surface 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the graffiti-just-got-way-more-fun dept.
Warmlight writes "Rice University researchers have created a type of lithium-ion battery that can be spray-painted onto most surfaces. 'Their batteries, outlined in Scientific Reports (abstract), are made up of five separate layers, each with its own recipe — together measuring just 0.5mm thick. To demonstrate the technique, the team painted batteries onto steel, glass, ceramic tile and even a beer stein.' What do you think this will do for future form-factors? Maybe a form-fitting PipBoy-style device that doesn't weigh 30lbs?"
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Researchers Spray-Paint Batteries Onto Almost Any Surface

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  • I'm actually surprised to see this coming out from Rice, wasn't this stuff being done 20 years ago by another Rice group? Maybe additional substrates this time? Looks like a review of their references may be necessary.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday June 29, 2012 @01:48PM (#40496597)

      The team at Rice just finally came out of the room after twenty years to break for lunch outside, and casually mentioned it to a passerby before they went back in.

      In another twenty years expect batteries formed from pure thought.

      • by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile.mindless@com> on Friday June 29, 2012 @02:10PM (#40496913) Journal

        In another twenty years expect batteries formed from pure thought.

        Least reliable power source ever.

        • Put some porn in front of my eyes and my thoughts will go nuts...expect some major battery recharge if its connected to my thoughts
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          Least reliable power source ever.

          Oh.. I dunno... Have Slashdot put a story up about malware in Linux and watch the lights get brighter as people spin it as proof of how great OSS really is!

        • In another twenty years expect batteries formed from impure thought.

          Most reliable power source ever.

          FTFY

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        I'd just be happy with a battery that 1/2 to 1/10 of the energy volume density of gasoline, and can be scaled up.

        That way, the Otto cycle engines can be chucked for electric motors which don't have energy loss due to exhaust or needless heat.

        For RVs, it would allow for the rig to be completely electric. No loud generators, just use a high capacity inverter that can handle the 60 or so locked rotor amps from an A/C, and that is that. Then when you get to home or storage, plug the RV into shore power to tri

    • It tells it on their link [rice.edu] here in the article. I'm pretty amazed by this...seems like a very good thing.

      In the first experiment, nine bathroom tile-based batteries were connected in parallel. One was topped with a solar cell that converted power from a white laboratory light. When fully charged by both the solar panel and house current, the batteries alone powered a set of light-emitting diodes that spelled out “RICE” for six hours; the batteries provided a steady 2.4 volts.

      The researchers reported that the hand-painted batteries were remarkably consistent in their capacities, within plus or minus 10 percent of the target. They were also put through 60 charge-discharge cycles with only a very small drop in capacity, Singh said.

      • So if you charge them every day, they last two months. Great. That will power my mobile phone!

        Oh, wait ...

        • They were also put through 60 charge-discharge cycles with only a very small drop in capacity,

          So if you charge them every day, they last two months.

          How did you come to that conclusion? Under the described conditions they will last for two months with only a small drop in capacity at the end of the time period. Presumably they will last considerably longer than that before the end of their usable life. It all depends on how much the capacity drops off. But in no way did the OP state they were unusable after 60 recharge cycles.

    • Spraypaint the cathode on the back of the screen, and the anode on a second piece of ceramic, put them together, and done. That's the battery. Awesome!

  • How would it connect?

  • Okay but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chas (5144) on Friday June 29, 2012 @01:47PM (#40496585) Homepage Journal

    That's great and everything. But what kind of capacitance can they get out of these? And do we have any idea about the lifespan and durability of this process?

    It'd be great to get away from huge battery columns or battery blocks in the trunk/engine area, or staying with them and using this to augment them and raise the top range of the vehicles.

    But until there's more specific information, this is "interesting" but not very helpful.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    painted batteries onto steel, glass, ceramic tile and even a beer stein.

    Fucking taggers.

  • What about outside usage. Will the sun affect the color of the paint thus have any consequences to the performance of the batterie just like it did (I don't know if it still does..last news it didnt) with solar panels over time ?
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Friday June 29, 2012 @01:58PM (#40496725) Homepage Journal

    There are two very important questions that should have been answered:

    1) How much power are the getting from the Beer Stein in the picture.

    2) What beer is in the stein.

    • by KhabaLox (1906148)

      If memory serves, Pearl was the beer of choice at Valhalla, the Graduate Student pub in the basement of the Chemistry building. Yes, Rice grad students are that poor.

      • Mostly St. Arnold's these days. The price has gone up though. $1 now. I think you can still get shitty beer for 75c though.
        • by KhabaLox (1906148)

          I'll bet their getting a good deal on the St. Arnold's, as the guys who started the brewery are Rice grads. I interviewed one of them for a "Dream Career" newsletter article when I was working at the Career Services Center.

    • by DrVomact (726065) on Friday June 29, 2012 @02:28PM (#40497151) Journal

      There are two very important questions that should have been answered:

      1) How much power are the getting from the Beer Stein in the picture.

      2) What beer is in the stein.

      3) Are they also working on a spray-paintable Peltier cooler [wikipedia.org] so that we can keep our beer cold and our hands warm at the same time?

    • There are two very important questions that should have been answered:

      1) How much power are the getting from the Beer Stein in the picture.

      2) What beer is in the stein.

      A third question was on my mind: "What the blazes is a PipBoy?"

      • oh dude, you poor thing. play fallout 3 or fallout: new vegas. the other fallouts weren't as good, in just about everyone's opinion.
  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday June 29, 2012 @02:02PM (#40496783)
    I was expecting a few minutes at best so storing enough to run LED lights for 6 hours was impressive. The number of charge discharge cycles is a major question. What intrigues me is pairing this with spray on solar cells so you end up with a coating that collects and stores power. Imagine light poles that collect and store power then discharge it at night with no visible wires or solar cells. Also roofing tiles that collect and store energy. The real trick would be getting the life cycle to match solar cells which is actually quite long. Traditional cells wouldn't come close but pairing this with nano technology might make the cells more durable. Either way it's interesting technology. Ultimately though what it's likely to do is create devices that are completely disposable since the batteries are fully intergrated.
  • Isn't this more or less the idea behind a leyden jar? If so, are they not more like capacitors then batteries?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Leyden jar stores energy in the field created by a capacitor. Batteries undergo chemical changes to store/discharge energy. Storage density is much greater for a battery.

  • ... spray-on LEDs (OLEDs?) and spray on PV cells.

    Put all this into a can and we'll have some really interesting tagging sprayed onto everything.

  • I think a blinking LED on the top would be quite handy.

  • Paint battery why not, specially if it helps to manufacture special shapes for special needs.
    But what about recycling if every product have different battery shape with some on metal, other on ceramic or plactic...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is fantastic! Beer cans or bottles can be made with their own power supply for self chilling. Never again will we need to suffer from WBS (warm beer syndrome).

  • One use that sprung to my mind for this would be for power storage at home if one wanted to go renewable. You wouldn't need to figure out where to put the battery bank and when the capacity of the painted on batteries gets to low you just repaint your house.
  • by Jaktar (975138) on Friday June 29, 2012 @03:06PM (#40497703)

    1. It removes the ability to have a drop in spare (i.e. is not user replaceable.)

    2. The "packaging" they refer to is also a vital part of the mechanical integrity of a battery. Mechanical integrity is kind of important.

    3. Spraying a battery directly to the case of a device ensures that the full force of any mechanical shock is applied to the battery as well.

    All of this together makes me believe that the only use this could have is for relatively small items that you do not intend to move around.

    • If it is sprayed on to plastic or cardboard, then I dont think the packaging is a problem. Just think, your cornflake packet can power LEDs that flash "Cornflakes" until you finish the packet! How socially useful is that!

      (Just posting this to disclose it publicly, and ensure no one can patent the idea)

    • by mattr (78516)

      It is also difficult to recycle the component materials.

  • The Battery is the Vibrator.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"

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