back to article Get BENT: Flexy supercapacitor breaks records

It doesn't sound like a huge number, but 6.3 milliwatt-hours per cubic mm is a breakthrough: it's the highest volumetric energy density so far achieved in a microscale carbon-based supercapacitor. Such devices are keenly sought in electronics research to drive the growing wearables market, since battery life is a big issue among …

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Happy

Woven carbon-graphene shorts ...

Holy electron, Batman! That's a pretty awesome flux capacitor yer sparkin' there!

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Re: Woven carbon-graphene shorts ...

Just remember to never, never, ever, laugh so hard or drink so much that you pee your pants.

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Re: Woven carbon-graphene shorts ...

Since urine is a good electrical conductor, as anyone who has taken a leak on an electric wire fence or a running motor spark plug can testify, [don't ask]....then YES....you might not enjoy a leak in your carbon-grahene shorts.

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Happy

Re: Woven carbon-graphene shorts ...

Than again ... it might jolt loose a few of those pesky kidney stones?

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Re: Woven carbon-graphene shorts ...

Like the man who urinated on a faulty lamppost in Bristol many years ago, and needed reconstructive surgery. Poor chap. By all accounts he was a nice guy, but accident prone.

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Connections?

At some point, two wires will have to be connected to this thing (or item of clothing) in such a way that all parts of the (super)capacitor have a low resistance path to the wires. How would this be done?

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Re: Connections?

Two F-ing big crock clips

Just don't come near me with them

Don't..

Don....

GAAAAAAAAAAAA!

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The clothing is a bad idea. As soon as you tear the fabric in any way, it'd catch fire.

It's still good tech, though. Fold it up and stick it in a protective box and you've potentially got a replacement for the common battery. Supercaps are purely electrical devices, not electrochemical, which means they don't gradually lose capacity over a couple of years - plus they'll work from sub-freezing to near-boiling temperatures.

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"Supercaps are purely electrical devices, not electrochemical"

According to a nice article on Wikipiedia, this is wrong; they're a combination of both, storing most energy electrochemically.

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Anonymous Coward

Alas, the trend is against us.

I'm willing to bet that all the designery types are already salivating at the idea of making even thinner devices instead of making one with a battery life that exceeds the attention span of a hamster (I may be hamfisted, but the phones are getting too thin to be held comfortably IMHO).

Here's an idea: the next smartphone that comes out should come out in 2 versions: one with the now "traditional" battery life of a phone call, and another one which tries to be usable for more than 24h.

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Anonymous Coward

6.3 microwatt-hours per cubic mm

For comparison, Wikipedia says Li-Ion batteries have an energy density in the range 250-730 Wh/L which equates to 250-730 microwatt-hours per cubic mm. That is, this new stuff is 40-115 times worse than existing technology.

Look at it another way: a mobile phone battery made out of this stuff which is 5mm x 50mm x 100mm would have a capacity of 0.158Wh, which at 3.7V would be 43mAh (compare typical mobile phone batteries in the 1500mAh+ range)

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Re: 6.3 microwatt-hours per cubic mm

There may be some merit in using a super cap in conjunction with a Li-Ion battery. The super cap can smooth out the peak demands on the battery, and itself be recharged when the device is idle.

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Re: 6.3 microwatt-hours per cubic mm

"For comparison, Wikipedia says Li-Ion batteries have an energy density in the range 250-730 Wh/L which equates to 250-730 microwatt-hours per cubic mm. That is, this new stuff is 40-115 times worse than existing technology."

There certainly seems something up with their 'comparable with ..." statement. Perhaps "no where near comparable with ..." is more interesting, or "give us a load of funding because we're using the wonder material graphene which can do everything and we may produce a small capacitor in the future if you give us the dosh".

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Re: 6.3 microwatt-hours per cubic mm

I thought the article says 6.3 milliwatt-hours - not microwatt hours. This is therefore 8-25 times BETTER than existing technology

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Acceptable losses in N.Korea

Quote from Kim Jong Un

"Some of you early adopters of supercap tech woven into official Nork state garments may spontaneously combust. As your leader it is a price I am willing pay. All hail me.."

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With luck the technolgy will improve to the point

where car 'hifi' systems will homogenise the occupants not the streets they are travelling down.

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How big?

6.3 uWh per mm^3 is 6.3 kWh per m^3, if I'm doing the sums right. So for running a car, which to be useful needs something like 25 kWh capacity, this would take up about four cubic metres plus connections and case etc.. It looks as though there is still some way to go, though it might be on target for regenerative braking, power tools and similar applications.

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Re: How big?

if I'm doing the sums right

You're not. They said milliwatt hour, not micro. 25kWh looks more like two bottles of Cola...

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Go

Re: How big?

two bottles of Cola

Wow, running a car on a powerpack that small would be seriously impressive!

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Re: How big?

Except that the article quoted the abstract incorrectly. It's 6.3mWh per cubic cm, not cubic mm.

From the abstract:

A full micro-supercapacitor with PVA/H3PO4 gel electrolyte, free from binder, current collector and separator, has a volumetric energy density of ~6.3 mWh cm−3 (a value comparable to that of 4 V–500 µAh thin-film lithium batteries)

So it's more like 63 Wh per cubic meter... not so good for cars. Or phones, for that matter. Typical cell phone batteries run, what, 5-9 Wh?

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Mushroom

It also offers much faster discharge rates than Lithium batteries. Anything that stores that much energy can be dangerous if the energy escapes when not wanted. Petrol burns, Lithium batteries catch fire. What happens to these when a fully charged one shorts out?

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Coat

Let's ask Michael Bay !

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Mushroom

what happens when you short it?

As the British rail porter said when asked 'Porter, does this train stop at Warteloo'?

"I hope so, cos there will be a ****ing big bang if it doesn't."

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Sounds like a really good start point for hybrid-hybrid vehicles Generator->Batteries->Supercaps

The generator handles the range anxiety, the battery handles the base load and the supercap handles the regenerative braking and the pullaway oomph..

Also sounds like a good idea to marry up with a domestic solar PV installation

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road runners

How about the tyres themselves?

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