back to article Laptop batteries made of jelly invented

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 …


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  1. Iain Anderson
    Thumb Up

    Lithium Jelly...

    ...the perfect mood stabiliser for children's parties.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      That's a great idea

      Add vodka for extra hilarity.

  2. Simon Rockman

    Shaped batteries were promised ages ago

    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.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Lithium polymer cells

      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).

  3. J P


    So how do you set about changing the things when they wear out after however many cycles? It's not like you can pull jelly out with pliers or anything...

  4. Arctic fox

    @Brid-Aine Parnell

    Any info on what they are saying about the amount of charge stored per unit volume in comparison to current Li ion batteries?

    1. Frostbite

      I was wondering exactly the same as I use Li-Po's in my RC aircraft

      (3.7v per cell is currently a typical for my Lithium Polymer batteries)

      1. Arctic fox

        @Frostbite: Yeah, that seems to me to be key with this.

        That the info does not apparently seem to be available right now (I've been working the "magic piano") does not seem particularly encouraging. If it is no worse than current Li-ion batteries, fine, but the lack of info worries me a bit.

  5. theBatman
    Thumb Up

    Sounds good...

    We can start making novelty batteries using jelly moulds :)

    1. Elmer Phud
      Paris Hilton


      Novelty batteries.

      For the longer lasting personal massager that is one big battery?

  6. rurwin

    How many nanometres?

    > 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.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      also "highly conductive" ?

      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!

  7. Scott Broukell

    Were there many ....

    ... bean counters involved in the research.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      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)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      mnom nmon mnom

      Jelly Bean Counter - my fav job :-)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    peanut butter jelly time!

  9. Andus McCoatover

    I thought this was ancient?

    The idea of - effectively - pouring the electrolyte into (e.g.,) a mobile phone's been around at least 10 years, from memory.

  10. g e

    Good job they don't use gelatin

    or they'd have to make a vegetarian version...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "70 per cent liquid electrolyte"

    Just like people, really!

  12. Ralthor


    Enquiring minds what to know. If you are shipwrecked on a desert idland with nothing but your laptop and a can of shaving cream how long will your laptop keep you alive?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So thats what was going on

    As a leeds uni student, i was wondering what the story was with the self powered light-up bouncy balls. I assume more polymer and less water in that batch

  14. Morteus

    Science fiction..

    ... come fact? I remember in that Stallone movie 'Demolition Man' the electric cars ran on something call 'capacitence gel'.

  15. Harry

    Well, here's an idea ...

    ... that's not to be Trifled with.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    U mad bro?

    U jelly?

  17. Anonymous John


    This could make a great electric car. Once the passengers are in, pump the cabin full of electrolyte. No need for seat belts or air-bags.

  18. K. Adams

    Cool! Now all we need to do is mix this tech...

    ... 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?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gel batteries - "airport security"...

    Am I the only one seeing an issue here?

  20. Toastan Buttar


    A great big bowl of wibbly-wobbly, electricy-wectricy, ........stuff.

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