Researchers make huge breakthrough: jelly batteries

Out with the old batteries and in with the new lithium jelly batteries. Researchers at the University of Leeds have invented a jelly battery that is smaller, cheaper, lighter, safer and more powerful than current battery technology.

The one thing holding 4G-enabled smartphones and tablets back is battery power. Devices like the HTC Thunderbolt and EVO 4G are power sucking hogs that can't even make it through an entire day with requiring a spare battery, an external battery charging pack or toting around a USB cable.

These breakthrough lithium jelly batteries could change that. Lighter and more powerful than the rechargeable lithium batteries it's hoping to replace, the polymer gel batteries contain "about 70 percent liquid electrolyte" and can be molded into all sorts of strange shapes and sizes.

Safety's important too and the jelly battery has that covered as well.

"Safety is of paramount importance in lithium batteries. Conventional lithium batteries use electrolytes based on organic liquids; this is what you see burning in pictures of lithium batteries that catch fire. Replacing liquid electrolytes by a polymer or gel electrolyte should improve safety and lead to an all-solid-state cell," said Professor Peter Bruce from the University of St Andrews, who was not involved in the study.

According to the Leeds researchers, such a battery would even be cheaper, about 10 to 20 percent cheaper than batteries in today's gadgets. What's not to love?

With lithium jelly batteries, tomorrow's gadgets might only need one charge and truly last an entire day or even days. And because the batteries can be morphed into any shape and size, it wouldn't be difficult to imagine things like a tablet or smartphone that's not shaped like a rectangle.

Leeds, via BBC and TheRegister

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