Researchers develop stretchable wire-shaped supercapacitor

Nov 04, 2013 by Karen B. Roberts
UD's Tsu-Wei Chou (left) with visiting scholar Ping Xu. Credit: Ambre Alexander

(Phys.org) —Advances in flexible and stretchable electronics have prompted researchers to explore ways to create stretchable supercapacitors—robust energy storage devices—to power these and other devices.

Supercapacitors offer significant advantages over common batteries, including the ability to recharge in seconds, exceptionally long life span and high reliability, leading to their incorporation in portable consumer electronics, memory backup devices, hybrid vehicles and even large industrial scale power and energy management systems.

Wire-shaped supercapacitors, in particular, have attracted attention for uses in wearable energy devices.

University of Delaware professors Tsu-Wei Chou and Bingqing Wei have successfully developed a compact, stretchable wire-shaped supercapacitor (WSS) based on continuous (CNT) .

Chou, Pierre S. du Pont Chair of Engineering, is an internationally-known composites expert who specializes in using carbon nanotube fibers for multifunctional composites and devices. Wei, professor of mechanical engineering, has expertise in creating scalable power sources for .

They used a prestraining-then-buckling approach to fabricate the wire-shaped supercapacitor using a Spandex fiber as the substrate, a polyvinyl alcohol-sulfuric acid gel as the solid electrolyte, and carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers as the active electrodes.

When subjected to a tensile strain of 100 percent over 10,000 charge/discharge cycles, the CNT supercapacitor's electrochemical performance improved to 108 percent, revealing its excellent electrochemical stability.

Wei, who credits the 's performance to the intrinsic mechanical and physical properties of the flexible CNT fibers, said, "The network of individual CNTs and their bundles endow the fibers with the capacity to withstand large deformation without sacrificing mechanical properties, electrical conductivity, and electrochemical properties."

"This unique combination of outstanding electrochemical performance and stretchability may enable the integration of wire-shaped supercapacitors with wearable, miniaturized and portable electronic devices," said Chou.

The professors recently published their findings in Advanced Energy Materials. The first author on the paper was Ping Xu, a visiting student from Donghua University in Shanghai, China.

Explore further: Scientists create tiny bendy power supply for even smaller portable electronics

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

Apr 17, 2014

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

Wiring up carbon-based electronics

Apr 17, 2014

Carbon-based nanostructures such as nanotubes, graphene sheets, and nanoribbons are unique building blocks showing versatile nanomechanical and nanoelectronic properties. These materials which are ordered ...

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

(Phys.org) —Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...