At least one in every five people owns a wearable device these days, and for a good reason. Wearable devices are famous for their versatility- they look good and serve various purposes ranging from monitoring biomarkers to serving as vehicles for drug delivery and medical devices.
However, these devices require stretchy and highly deformable batteries to carry out their functions effectively. As a result, a lot of research has gone into improving the flexibility of batteries while preserving battery life as well as other desirable features, but information on enhancing the durability of batteries against moisture and gases is sorely lacking.
Some researchers from Yokohama National University in Japan have come up with a stretchy packaging film with increased gas and moisture resistance, getting us nearer to the prospect of wearable devices with favourably flexible batteries as regularly seen technology.
They reported that although some research has been done on stretchable batteries in the world, their use is limited because the packaging materials have a high permeability to gas and moisture.
In creating the impermeable flexible film, they employed the use of gold-deposited polyurethane film coated thinly, layer by layer, using liquid metal. The layered coating permitted the required deformability compared to aluminum-laminated films that protected the battery from gas and moisture but lacked flexibility.
According to the researchers, the polyurethane film demonstrates impeccable gas and moisture resistance even in extreme conditions, such as mechanical strain or marginally reduced moisture permeability.
This research promises the ability to utilise batteries of high energy density, working voltage, and durability, as well as largely flexible- compared to sturdy and rigid- in wearable devices.
So much progress has already been made in this research. The next step comprises altering the materials of the film to make it more moisture-protecting, enhancing the stability of the batteries so that they remain intact with deformation by upgrading to better-suited materials, and making the films less expensive.
The Cost-effectiveness of the film will result in the execution of deformable batteries. The researchers also speculate the usefulness of the film as a barrier for organic electronics.