Researchers have made a rechargeable silver oxide-zinc battery with ten times greater areal energy density. Read to know every thing about the Silver-Zinc Battery. Unlike other flexible batteries, this battery is easier to produce and can be screen printed in normal laboratory conditions. This device can be used in wearables and soft robotics.
The team that created this battery consist of researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and ZPouler, a company based in California. They revealed the details of their findings in the normal named “jourle”.
Lu Yin, one of the paper’s co-first author and a Ph.D. student of Professor Joseph Wang, disclosed that instead of electronics that need to be designed around batteries, their batteries can be designed around electronics. At room temperature, the areal capacity for the silver oxide-zinc battery is 50 milliamps per square centimeter. Unlike the common Lithium-ion battery, this battery is 20 times greater. This implies that for the same surface area, the battery can provide 10 times power.
Yin said the kind of areal capacity has not been obtained before and the manufacturing method is not only sealable, by also affordable. The silver oxide-zinc battery has a lower impedance than the other batteries available in the market nowadays. Impedance means the resistance of an electric circuit or device to an alternating current. And if a battery has a low impedance, it would be able to perform well against high current discharge.
Jonathan Scharf, the paper’s co-first author, and a Ph.D. candidate said that the battery performs better than other commercial products. He continued that the battery will be a major contender as the next-generation power source for consumer electronics.
When tested with a flexible display system equipped with a microcontroller and Bluetooth modules, the silver oxide zinc battery powered it perfectly. After recharging the printed battery cells for more than 80 cycles, there were no obvious signs of capacity loss. Besides, the cells were performing the way they should after bending and twisting repeatedly.
Ying Shirley Meng, director of the UC San Diego Institute of materials Discovery and Design, said that their core value is to improve the manufacturing process and battery performance.
The researchers who created the silver oxide zinc battery used a proprietary cathode design and chemistry from Zpower. Professor Joseph Wang and the other researchers enabled the battery was printable and stretchable. In terms of advanced characterization for electrochemical energy storage and iteration of the battery prototype, Ying Shirley Meng and her team made that possible.
Most flexible batteries that are sold use Ag2O-Zn chemistry. That’s why their use is limited to low-power electronics. This battery’s excellent energy density is dependent on its silver oxide- zinc chemistry. That’s why it is better than the commercial flexible batteries.
Usually, Silver-Oxide is not stable. But this battery’s silver-oxide cathode material is coated with lead oxide to improve its conductivity thereby making it stable. That’s why the battery has a low impedance compared to other commercial batteries.
Besides, the battery’s printed current collectors have great conductivity, contributing to its low impudence.
One major reason AgO has not been used in a screen-printed battery before is due to high oxidation and chemical degradation. Researchers in Joseph Wang’s laboratory tested several solvents and binders. Finally, they found an ink formulation that makes silver-oxide possible for printing.
Once the inks are prepared, the battery can be printed within a short time. It gets dry and can be used in a few minutes. To increase the speed and make manufacturing easy, the battery can be printed in a roll-to-roll process.
These batteries are printed in a polymer film. The films are always elastic, chemically stable, and have a high melting point of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit that can be sealed with heat. A stack screen-printed layer consists of the zinc anode, current collectors, silver-oxide cathode, and each of their separators.
Currently, the team is working on another set of batteries that charges quickly, and are cheaper. This will enable its usage in 5G devices and soft robotics.