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: Demystifying nanocrystal solar cells

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Demystifying nanocrystal solar cells

Jan 28, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a comprehensive model to explain how electrons flow inside new types of solar cells made of tiny crystals. The model allows for a better understanding of such cells and may ...

Researchers use oxides to flip graphene conductivity

Jan 26, 2015

Graphene, a one-atom thick lattice of carbon atoms, is often touted as a revolutionary material that will take the place of silicon at the heart of electronics. The unmatched speed at which it can move electrons, ...

Researchers make magnetic graphene

Jan 26, 2015

Graphene, a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, has many desirable properties. Magnetism alas is not one of them. Magnetism can be induced in graphene by doping it with magnetic ...

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made

Jan 23, 2015

Theoretical physicists at Rice University are living on the edge as they study the astounding properties of graphene. In a new study, they figure out how researchers can fracture graphene nanoribbons to get ...

Nanotechnology changes behavior of materials

Jan 23, 2015

One of the reasons solar cells are not used more widely is cost—the materials used to make them most efficient are expensive. Engineers are exploring ways to print solar cells from inks, but the devices ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.