Battery of the future: more durable, flexible and made from plastics

illustration of a bendable battery

Illustration: Research Communications and Public Relations, Academic Affairs Communication

Plastic is not just pliable and recyclable; research is proving that polymers can be incredibly powerful.

Jodie Lutkenhaus, associate professor and William and Ruth Neely Faculty Fellow in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, recently received more than $300,000 from the Department of Energy to study electrochemical energy storage in organic radical polymers.

Lutkenhaus also creates hybrid polymer-based electrodes that could be used in battery technology.

Polymers can be added to energy storage devices to create bendable batteries and structures that endure. Her group’s recent publication in Scientific Reports details a highly flexible battery cathode material.

“Our polymer essentially acts like a mechanical glue, so it won’t crack,” said Lutkenhaus. “It will last longer, it’s flexible and it helps the electrochemical reaction take place.”

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