...the perfect mood stabiliser for children's parties.
Jelly could be the answer to the problem of cheaper batteries for electronics, according to some boffins over at Leeds University. They've come up with a type of polymer gel that could replace the liquid electrolytes used in rechargeable lithium cells. And of course, because it's jelly-like, it can be moulded into all shapes …
This was one of the selling points of Lithium Polymer. In the early nineties there was a Dell press trip. In the Texas HQ Michael Dell passed round a very early lithium polymer cell.
"Eugh" said one female hack, "it feel like a femmidom". She was then charged with explaining to Michael Dell what a femmidom was.
The main problem with Lithium Polymer cells was that the solid electrolyte didn't really start to work until the temperature was about 70° which was a little hot for domestic stuff, and you had to work out how to get it to that temperature before you got juice out of it.
Shaped Li-Ion batteries of the type in lots of phones, etc. are quite easy it's just the same as round cells, but instead of making a "jelly roll", they are laid flat and sealed in a "coffee pack" (just like the bag that ground coffee comes in).
> but just nanometres thick
The original press release does not contain this bombshell claim, but I'm willing to bet that this film is mere nanometres thick in the same way that I am mere metres from Timbuktu ... or any other location on Earth.
Micrometres would be a little more believable, but it's likely to be a significant number of them.
Not just that, but it claims "highly conductive" but only nanometers thick. The cells I worked with had copper electrodes that were ~25 microns thick, but the conductivity was so poor that if the temperature at the start of discharge was above about 35°C, the self-heating meant that it switched-off before it was flat if you tried to use it in one go!
When you subtract the number allowable to be discounted under regulation 6.1.3-0175 (b) sub-clause 15 note g:
-3 bean counters.
This actually means that employing the beancounters made the research cost less (sort of, effectively, almost), and hence justifying their positions (and Mercedes company cars)
... with the all-exits-no-waiting, get-'em-out-the-door-right-now properties of graphene electrodes, and we ought to be able to build a storage cell that can discharge (and, more importantly, charge) a lot more quickly than run-of-the-mill LI-ion and Li-poly cells.
What would you call such a hybrid, fast-charge/fast-discharge, electrolytic power storage cell? A "battacitor?" Or a "capattery?"
Not sure where such a device would end up on the energy density scale, though... (In other words: "Would it be able to store and move enough electrons to be practical?") Any electrochemist types among El Reg's readership who could enlighten us?
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