Making batteries for wearables or implantable medical devices requires few features that typical batteries don’t have. In order to fit in a wearable device, those batteries need to be flexible and safe from harmful chemicals. So, the researchers at Fudan University in China developed flexible batteries that run on salt water.
Saving mankind from toxic batteries
So far, batteries developed for wearables don’t meet the criteria of not having harmful acids and chemicals. Those kinds of stuff are flammable, corrosive, and very toxic. As no one wants those chemicals dribbling onto their body, those batteries come with an extra material, keeping the toxic chemicals from leaking and coming in contact with human tissue. However, that material often makes those batteries heavy and not flexible at all. So, the scientists tried to develop some flexible batteries that don’t require those harmful chemicals. Their work was published this week in the journal Chem, describing the batteries.
Batteries that run on salt water
They created two versions of these flexible batteries. The first one is a belt-shaped model that is made out of two flattened electrodes, sandwiching the electrolyte in between. The second one is a composition of two small threads made out of carbon nanotubes. Different types of electrolyte solutions were tested, of which Sodium Sulfate worked best. Researchers also found that saline water, which is basically mixed salt water works just fine. It means if the battery leaks inside the wearables, stuff inside will not hurt you.
Batteries functioning on sodium-based liquid or salt water could open a new way for researchers to the scientists. Researchers are hoping in the near future, these batteries will be able to run by bodily fluids such as blood, sweat, even tears. In this way, making batteries for wearables or medical implants will be cost effective as well as safer.