Scientists have developed a zinc-air battery, partly made of Kevlar, that is strong enough to withstand structural stress.
Batteries are necessary to provide power to robotics, but at the same time, they usually account for at least 20% of the interior space and mass of the machine, which also requires energy to move. However, researchers from the University of Michigan have proposed a solution that allows the element to be used as a supporting part of the device..
To do this, the team coated the electrodes of a zinc-air battery with a Kevlar nanofiber membrane in a water-based polymer gel that helps transport hydroxide ions between the electrodes. In addition to increasing mechanical strength, the nanostructured fiber coating also prevents dendrite growth. – harmful metal formations that can damage the battery.
The Kevlar-doped battery is so durable that it can be used to make structural elements of robots
According to the developers, thanks to other improvements, the energy density in their battery is three times higher than that of a conventional lithium-ion storage device. Scientists’ calculations also showed that if a robot body was made from such a zinc-air battery, then it would provide 72 times more energy per unit of total mass than one lithium-ion battery..
However, the main disadvantage of zinc batteries is still their service life, since the accumulation efficiency begins to decline after only 100 operating cycles..
Scientists did not report the maximum power consumption of the prototype, but said they are negotiating the commercialization of the development and hope to bring the new system to the market in the next 3-5 years..
We also previously reported on the development of high-power potassium batteries that charge in 10 seconds..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: University of Michigan