Quasi-solid electrolyte: a thixotropic gel of imogolite and an ionic liquid
© Guido Mieth/Moment/Getty
A new gel electrolyte — an electrically conductive substance — could improve the performance and safety of batteries and make more malleable conductive coatings.
Because of their high electrical conductivity, liquid electrolytes are commonly used in fuel cells. There is a risk, however, of leakage, and they are too fluid to be moulded, reducing their potential for flexible electronics. Solid electrolytes are safer and can be shaped, but are less conductive. A group from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology mixed aluminium-silicate nanotubes with maleic acid in liquid salt. The reaction formed a highly conductive gel that became more viscous over time. The mouldable electrolyte proved to be as conductive as a liquid electrolyte and kept its gel consistency even at temperatures of 150 degrees Celsius.
This malleable material could be used in flexible applications that need a conductive coating, such as touch-sensitive machines and biosensors.
- Chem. Comm. 53, 613–616 (2017). doi: 10.1039/c6cc07765j
|Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), Japan||1.00|