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Already incredibly versatile, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are reaching new levels of flexibility thanks to 3D printing.
Using a desktop 3D printer and PLA filament, researchers at Texas State University and Duke University, North Carolina, have found a cost-effective way of fashioning LIBs into wearable devices and coin cell batteries.
Study - Process - ACS - Applied - Energy
A study of the process has been recently published in ACS Applied Energy Materials journal.
Battery - Material - PLA - Researchers - Study
Though an unconventional battery material, PLA is chosen by researchers in this study because, firstly: it is one of the cheapest and most common 3D printer materials, and secondly: it is easy to work into any shape your required.
The main barrier here however, is that PLA filament is not a natural ionic conductor. One of the important discoveries in DukeU and Texas State’s research was how to overcome this challenge – a condition met by infusing PLA filament with LiClO4.
Material - Combination - PLA - Samples - Anodes
Next, it was necessary to determine the appropriate material combination to turn 3D printed PLA samples into anodes and cathodes with high capacity. Of the trial compositions, the research states, “The highest capacity was obtained with lithium titanate and graphene nanoplatelets in the anode, and lithium manganese oxide and multiwall carbon nanotubes in the cathode.”
Once formulated, the respective PLA anodes and cathodes were made using an unmodified desktop 3D printer from award winning developer Prusa Research.
Coin - Cell - Proof - Concept - Sample
A coin cell was chosen as the first proof of concept sample. Though this is not the first time enhanced PLA filament has been...
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