Flexible battery

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A flexible lithium-ion polymer battery

Flexible batteries are batteries, both primary and secondary, that are designed to be conformal and flexible, unlike traditional rigid batteries. The increasing interest in portable and flexible electronics has led to the development of flexible batteries which can be implemented in products such as smart cards, wearable electronics, novelty packaging, flexible displays and transdermal drug delivery patches.[1][2] Hence efforts are underway to make different flexible power sources including primary and rechargeable batteries.

Basic methods and designs[edit]

In general, a battery is made of one or several galvanic cells, where each cell consists of cathode, anode, separator, and in many cases current collectors. In flexible batteries all these components need to be flexible. These batteries can be fabricated into different shapes and sizes and by different methods. One approach is to use polymer binders to fabricate composite electrodes where conductive additives are added to enhance their conductivity. The electrode materials can be printed or coated onto flexible substrates. The cells are assembled into flexible packaging materials to maintain bendability. Others approaches include the filtering of electrode suspension through filters to form free-standing films, or use flexible matrix to hold electrode materials. There are also other designs like cable batteries.[3]

Flexible secondary (rechargeable) batteries[edit]

There have been many efforts in adapting conventional batteries such as zinc-carbon and lithium ion, and at the same time new materials such as those based on nanoparticle complexes are being developed for flexible battery and supercapacitor electrodes. For example, there are efforts at developing flexible lithium-ion batteries. Some studies have introduced nanocarbons into flexible lithium-ion batteries, and there are batteries with Li4Ti5O12 and LiFePO4 as anode and cathode, with graphene based current collector reported by Cheng.[4] Carbon nanotube electrodes have been reported by Pushparaj.[5] Yi Cui’s group [6] coated electrode active materials onto carbon nanotubes to form Li4Ti5O12-CNT and LiCoO2-CNT composites and Ajayan et al.[7] developed SnO2-CNT composites. Another flexible all solid lithium-ion battery with a maximum 4.2 V charging voltage and 106 μAh/cm2 capacity was reported by Lee et al.[8] Another development is the paper-thin flexible self-rechargeable battery which combines a thin-film organic solar cell with an extremely thin and highly flexible lithium-polymer battery. This recharges itself when exposed to light.[9]

Flexible primary batteries[edit]

Disposable, primary flexible primary batteries which are the equivalent of AA and AAA batteries are also of great interest with applicability in smart cards, medical patches, greeting cards, toys, and disposable devices. Advantages of primary batteries with aqueous electrolyte over lithium ion batteries include their eco friendliness and the ease of fabrication. A flexible zinc-carbon battery using single-walled carbon nanotubes as current was reported by Hiraral in 2010;[10] later in 2013 one with conductive polymer and cheaper multiwalled carbon nanotubes was published by Mitra. Et. al.[11] Binders were used to maintain the flexibility and integrity of electrodes, and the carbon nanotubes dramatically reduced electrode resistance. The primary alkaline battery is more durable than conventional zinc-carbon under heavy load. An alkaline battery uses MnO2 as the active material along with zinc anode and KOH is used as an electrolyte here. A flexible alkaline cell offers several challenges because compared to zinc-carbon cells using weak acidic or neutral electrolytes, KOH is more basic and corrosive. Gaikwad first proposed an alkaline battery using nylon mesh [12][13] and more recently Wang and Mitra [14] reported an alkaline cell using. A rechargeable flexible alkaline battery has also been reported by the same group.[15]

Business and commercialization[edit]

Commercialization efforts for flexible lithium-ion and zinc-carbon systems are ongoing. LG is proposing to mass-produce a flexible cable battery.[16] The global market for thin film batteries increased from $33.5 million in 2011 to $51.8 million in 2012, and is estimated to be valued at $87.3 million by the end of 2013.[17] Manufacturers of zinc-based flexible disposable batteries include Blue Spark Technologies (Westlake, OH, US), FlexEl (College Park, MD, US), Printechnologics (Chemnitz, Germany), etc. While the suppliers of lithium-ion systems include GS NanoTech (Seoul, South Korea), Cymbet (Elk River, MN, USA), and Excellatron (Atlanta, GA,USA).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Samsung, LG to release flexible display-equipped smartphones in 2H14, says report". Digitimes. 26 June 2014. Archived from the original on June 29, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ultrasensitive flexible and wearable bionic sensors". Printedelectronicsworld.com. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "LG Chem to mass produce cable batteries in the near future". English.yonhapnews.co.kr. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  4. ^ N. Li, Z. Chen, W. Ren, F. Li and H. Cheng, “Flexible graphene-based lithium ion batteries with ultrafast charge and discharge rates ”, PNAS 2012, 109, 17360–17365
  5. ^ V. L. Pushparaj, M. M. Shaijumon, A. Kumar, S. Murugesan, L. Ci, R. Vajtai, R. J. Linhardt, O. Nalamasu and P. M. Ajayan, “Flexible energy storage devices based on nanocomposite paper” PNAS 2007, 104, 13574–13577
  6. ^ L. Hu, H. Wu, F. L. Mantia, Y. Yang, Y. Cui, “Thin, flexible secondary Li-ion paper batteries”, ACS Nano 2010, 4, 5843-5848
  7. ^ L. Noerochim, J. Wang, S. Chou, D Wexler, H. Liu, “Free-standing single-walled carbon nanotube/SnO2 anode paper for flexible lithium-ion batteries”, Carbon 2012, 50, 1289-1297
  8. ^ M. Koo, K. Park, S. Lee, M. Suh, D. Y. Jeon, J. W. Choi, K. Kang, and K. J. Lee, “Bendable Inorganic Thin-Film Battery for Fully Flexible Electronic Systems”, Nano Letters, 2012, 12 (9), pp 4810–4816
  9. ^ “Technology Review, Flexible Batteries That Never Need to Be Recharged, 2007". Technologyreview.com. 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2012-08-14
  10. ^ P. Hiralal, S. Imaizumi, H.E. Unalan, H. Matsumoto, M. Minagawa, M. Rouvala, A. Tanioka, G. A. J. Amaratunga, “Nanomaterial-Enhanced All-Solid Flexible Zinc−Carbon Batteries ”, ACS Nano 2010, 4, 2730-2734
  11. ^ Z. Wang, N. Bramnik, S.Roy, G. D. Benedetto, J. L. Zunino III, S. Mitra. “Flexible zinc–carbon batteries with multiwalled carbon nanotube/conductive polymer cathode matrix”, Journal of Power Sources, Volume 237, 2013, Pages 210–214
  12. ^ A. M. Gaikwad, G. L. Whiting, D. A. Steingart, A. C. Arias, “Highly Flexible, Printed Alkaline Batteries Based on Mesh-Embedded Electrodes”, Adv. Mat. 2011, 23, 3251-3255
  13. ^ A. M. Gaikwad, D. A. Steingart, T. N. Ng, D. E. Schwartz and G. L. Whiting, “A flexible high potential printed battery for powering printed electronics” Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 233302 (2013)
  14. ^ Z. Wang, Z. Wu, N. Bramnik, S. Mitra, “Fabrication of High Performance Flexible Alkaline Batteries by Implementing Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes and Copolymer Separator”, Advanced Materials, Volume 26, 2014, Pages 970–976
  15. ^ Z. Wang and S. Mitra, “Development of Flexible Secondary Alkaline Battery with Carbon Nanotube Enhanced Electrodes” , Journal of Power Sources, Volume 266, 2014, Pages 296–303
  16. ^ "LG Chem to mass produce cable batteries in the near future". English.yonhapnews.co.kr. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  17. ^ “GLOBAL MARKETS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR THIN-FILM BATTERIES”, Margareth Gagliardi, 2013, ISBN 1-56965-525-1