Researchers at Rice University, Houston, U.S.A., have developed a type of battery that can be painted onto virtually any surface.
The lithium-ion “battery-in-a-can” is rechargeable, and consists of multiple layers. Each layer represents a component of the traditional battery. Instead of the layers being rolled into a cylinder, the battery is left flat. Each layer is painted onto a surface, and connected to the device to be powered via wires along the perimeter.
(image: Neelam Singh, Rice University)
Now, the shapes and forms that batteries can come in are only as limited as our imaginations. Batteries can be painted onto glass, metal, ceramic, and plastic, and also to surfaces with a variety of shapes. As lead researcher and graduate student, Neelam Singh said, ” “using this approach, we can convert any object or surface to a battery”.
“The ceramic tiles that we converted into batteries could be used to build…the walls of a house…which could be covered in solar cells. This combination of solar cells and batteries could be used to capture and store solar energy into electricity.”
The development of spray-paint batteries also has the potential to revolutionise the size and appearance of modern-day devices. Batteries take up a large amount of space due to their size and shape, but when you eliminate the need for gaping compartments and cumbersome batteries all of a sudden your cellphone is thin enough to shave with.
With industrial manufacturers already using spray-paint in many processes, it would be a simple matter to incorporate spray-paint batteries.
The spray-paint battery is rechargeable, with a consistency in its capacity +/- 10 percent of the target.