Researchers develop stretchable wire-shaped supercapacitor

November 4, 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: Researchers report progress in development of carbon nanotube-based continuous fibers

Related Stories

Recommended for you

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

August 31, 2015

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets ...

Electrical circuit made of gel can repair itself

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—Scientists have fabricated a flexible electrical circuit that, when cut into two pieces, can repair itself and fully restore its original conductivity. The circuit is made of a new gel that possesses a combination ...

Scientists grow high-quality graphene from tea tree extract

August 21, 2015

(Phys.org)—Graphene has been grown from materials as diverse as plastic, cockroaches, Girl Scout cookies, and dog feces, and can theoretically be grown from any carbon source. However, scientists are still looking for a ...

0 comments

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.