Electronic devices become smaller, lighter, faster and more powerful with each passing year. Currently, however, electronics such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc., are rigid. But what if they could be made bendable or stretchy?
According to the University of Delaware's Bingqing Wei, stretchable electronics are the future of mobile electronics, leading giants such as IBM, Sony and Nokia to incorporate the technology into their products.
Beyond traditional electronics, potential stretchable applications include biomedical, wearable, portable and sensory devices, such as cyber skin for robotic devices and implantable electronics.
"Advances in soft and stretchable substrates and elastomeric materials have given rise to an entirely new field," says Wei, a mechanical engineering professor at UD.
But even if scientists can engineer stretchable electronics – what about their energy source?
"Rechargeable and stretchable energy storage devices, also known as supercapacitors, are urgently needed to complement advances currently being made in flexible electronics," explains Wei.
Wei's research group at the University is making significant progress in developing scalable, stretchable power sources for this type of application using carbon nanotube macrofilms, polyurethane membranes and organic electrolytes.
This, he says, requires new thinking about materials processing and device manufacturing to maximize energy storage without compromising energy resources.
To reveal a stretchable supercapacitator's true performance, the Wei group examined the system's electrochemical behavior using buckled single-wall nanotube (SWNT) electrodes and an elastomeric separator.
According to Wei, the supercapacitor developed in his lab achieved excellent stability in testing and the results will provide important guidelines for future design and testing of this leading-edge energy storage device.
As they work to refine the technology, Wei has filed a provisional patent to protect his team's research. The work was recently published in Nano Letters, a journal of the American Chemical Society.
University of Delaware: http://www.udel.edu
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Ben Allanach on the impure fun of rapid-response physics
Squid and other cephalopods control their skin displays by contracting color-filled cells. A team of engineers attempted the same using elastomer and electrical pulses.
Quakes and rockfalls at Mount Mayon have sparked serious concern
Ceramics break rather than bend under pressure, but nano-lattices have been used to produce resilient ceramics that could help make ultralight, tough materials
A safer, low-input way to make hydrogen fuel cells could make it feasible to use renewable energy to heat homes and fuel rockets
Dark energy's latest guise comes from the world of string theory, and could help bring our universe's chance of existing down to reasonable odds
Crew enters room at Hanford Nuclear Reservation where a 1976 explosion left worker covered with radioactive material
Hidden in the Norwegian forest, this huge steel web can sense the inaudible rumble of a nuclear blast or a meteor strike half a world away
A recent advance in nanotechnology could herald the widespread uptake of nanoelectrode arrays and the next generation of low-cost, high-performance nanoscale biosensing devices
Newly discovered particles have incited a fierce debate among experts about the correct picture of matter at the quantum scale.