Snake Scale-Inspired Stretchable Battery Moves Smoothly

Oct, 2021 - By SMI

Snake Scale-Inspired Stretchable Battery Moves Smoothly

Researchers created a battery that is safe and stretchable by imitating the scale design and flexible joints observed in the snake scale structure.

A team of scientists at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) developed a stretchable and flexible battery inspired by snake scales and is projected to have various applications in different devices such as energy storage technology, soft robots as well as wearable robots. The designed used in the battery was selected to form an overlapping scale-like structure that can bend and transform with the device.

Snakes scales are ridged and can fold in so that they can provide protection against external force, their structural feature enables high stretchability and flexibility. To attain these features for the battery, the scientists’ team made use of small lithium-ion batteries with hexagonal shape as the scales and electrically joined them with copper and polymer materials that act as a hinge to fold and unfold without incurring damage. The hexagonal shape of each cell was improved to enhance battery’s potential. The battery is developed by cutting and folding flexible electrodes, a procedure inspired by origami art. Therefore, the design facilitates commercial mass-production. After testing the stretchable lithium battery, it was observed that the battery was able to uphold the performance even when the scale shape was stretched to 90% over more than 36000 cycles.

Furthermore, according to the team, these unique features of the battery could be used in wearable soft robots for humans that are used in rehabilitation medical devices for people needing physical assistance. Other uses of this battery comprise search and rescue robots as well as multifunctional soft robots with artificial muscles. The KIMM scientists are looking forward to develop technology to propel the storage capacity of soft energy storage devices.

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