Korean Scientists Make “Bendy Batteries” a Reality


Scientists in South Korea have announced a major breakthrough in the development of flexible mobile devices, with the creation of the world’s first ‘bendable’ and ‘imprintable’ lithium-ion battery, which would be essential for powering such devices should the idea ever be realized.

According to the Yonhap news agency, the new bendable batteries are quite unlike conventional lithium-ion cells used in mobile devices today. Rather than using liquefied electrolytes, the new flexi-batteries are powered using hi-tech nanomaterials that create fluid-like polymer electrolytes when applied to a surface.

Researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology stated that its prototype batteries were far more stable than anything anyone had come up with previously, giving them real hope that the technology could be used to power the next-generation of mobile devices.

“Conventional lithium-ion batteries that use liquefied electrolytes had problems with safety as the film that separates electrolytes may melt under heat, in which case the positive and negative may come in contact, causing an explosion,” said Prof. Lee Sang-young, lead researcher in the project.

Professor Lee added that the key to the stability of the new batteries is that they’re made with ‘solid’ but flexible materials, rather than liquids, a fact that makes them far more stable and reliable for use in flexible devices of the future.

Undoubtedly, this latest development will attract the interest of device makers like Samsung, which displayed a prototype flexible OLED display dubbed “Youm” at the CES in Las Vegas last week. At the time, Samsung’s Brian Berkeley showed off the display technology’s unique characteristics, explaining how it could be used to make a screen that wraps around the entire device for example, with messages appearing on the side of the device, keeping the main screen free from clutter. Alternatively, the technology could also be used to create a kind of tablet that can be closed just like a book, added Berkley.