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Scientists develop new water-activated disposable paper batteries

2022-09-23 08:21:10Chinese Industry Information Station


Developed by Gustav Nyström and colleagues, the battery consists of at least one one-square-centimeter battery consisting of three inks printed on a rectangular strip of paper.The strip is covered with sodium chloride salt, and one of its shorter ends has been dipped in wax.

One ​​flat surface of the paper is printed with ink containing graphite flakes, which serve as the positive (cathode) of the battery.The other side is printed with ink containing zinc powder, which acts as the negative electrode (anode) of the battery.

In addition, based on the other two inks, ink containing graphite flakes and carbon black is printed on both sides of the paper.This ink connects the positive and negative electrodes of the battery to two wires located on the wax-dipped end of the paper.

When a small amount of water is added, the salt in the paper dissolves, releasing charged ions.These ions travel across the paper to activate the battery, causing the zinc in the ink at the negative end of the battery to release electrons.

The researchers then attached wires to an electrical device, closing the circuit so that electrons could be transferred from the negative electrode - through graphite and carbon black-containing inks, wires and devices -to the positive electrode (graphite-containing ink), where they are transferred to the oxygen in the surrounding air.The electrical current produced by these reactions can be used to power the device.

To demonstrate that their batteries are capable of running low-power electronics, the authors combined two batteries into one and used it to power an alarm clock with an LCD display.A performance analysis of one battery showed that after adding two drops of water, the battery activated within 20 seconds and reached a stable voltage of 1.2 volts when not connected to an energy-consuming device.

A standard AA alkaline battery is 1.5 volts.After an hour, the performance of one battery dropped significantly as the paper dried.However, after adding two more drops of water, it maintained a stable operating voltage of 0.5 volts for more than an hour.

The authors propose that the biodegradability of paper and zinc could allow their batteries to minimize the environmental impact of disposable low-power electronics.They suggest that the sustainability of the battery could be further improved by minimizing the amount of zinc in the ink, which also allows the amount of electricity the battery produces to be precisely controlled.

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