As technologies become more mobile and integrated into diverse fields, improved batteries may be a prerequisite to further innovations. A research team from the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) led by Sang-Young Lee has developed a battery that promises exceptional safety and flexibility. The often-researched all-solid-state inorganic electrolyte-based lithium-ion batteries have downsides of chemical instability and manufacturing inflexibility. Using sulfide- or oxide-based electrolyte components has been the cause of flammability and instability. The UNIST team has replaced them with a gel that is a combination of nonflammable sebaconitrile-based electrolytes and semi-interpenetrating polymer network skeletons. Flexibility is achieved by combining techniques of ultraviolet curing-assisted multistage printing and rheology tuning of electrodes.
According to the researchers, the battery maintains functionality even after taking significant physical abuse or being cut with scissors. The unprecedented stability of the new battery coupled with its flexible nature opens up various applications in the future.