A fabric that also works as a battery

A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has just come up with a special kind of batteries that can be woven inside the fabric that makes up our clothes, in order to use the fabric itself as a source of power for portable electronic devices such as a mobile phone, an MP3 player, or in the military field, to supply juice for those devices which are now a standard equipment for modern day soldiers.

Along with being embedded in the fabric, these batteries can be housed inside a container of any shape or size, thus using its outer shell as a source of energy. In their designers’ intentions, this battery clothing could be particularly useful for military personnel, who as we said are often carrying an array of electronic devices, whose weight and encumbrance are greatly increased by the battery packs used to power them.

The researchers’ job is based on a bacteriophage virus, harmless for humans, whose nucleus is coated by a layer of proteins, and which has been used as a model to create cathodes in a ferro-fluoric material. By combining these cathodes with the relevant anodes and electrolytes in the fabric, they created a battery which would lose only a fraction of its energy, and that can be recharged just like a normal one while reaching a performance of the same level.

This virus has also been produced at room temperature, thus greatly reducing the environmental footprint of the entire production process of these batteries. The material used is much less dangerous than the ones used when manufacturing common Li-ion batteries, as the lower heat generated consequently reduces the risk of flammability. Soldiers deployed in areas where temperatures may exceed 50 degrees will certainly be relieved at the idea of reducing their load and running less risks.

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