Breakthroughs in 3D-Printing Give Way for Promising Textile Lithium Battery Technology

Image courtesy: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

At the convergence of 3D-printing and lithium battery technology, Hong Kong researchers develop a promising textile-based, foldable battery that may find its way onto IoT-connected fabrics within automotive, aerospace, and medical industries.

A researcher team at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University  (PolyU) have leveraged a previously patented PolyU additive manufacturing technology – polymer-assisted metal deposition (PAMD) – to develop a highly flexible, high-energy textile lithium battery. While bendable batteries have been a focus of research for the past decade, PolyU researchers have confirmed the textile lithium battery’s promising level of stability, durability, and safety in what may be a breakthrough for wearable electronics.

With applications ranging from healthcare monitoring, intelligent textiles, smartphones, Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking, and Internet of Things (IoT), PolyU's lightweight textile lithium battery demonstrates high energy density of more than 450 watt-hours per liter and excellent flexibility – with a bending radius of less than one millimeter and foldability of over 1,000 cycles with marginal capacity degradation.

In comparison, the existing bendable lithium batteries can only reach a bending radius of about 25 millimeters at less than 200 watt-hours per liter. The less-than-one-half-millimeter-thick textile lithium battery also possesses fast charge and discharge capabilities and cycle life comparable to conventional lithium batteries.

William Kucinski  is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

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