A new generation of power: Hi-Tech rechargeable batteries developed for military

Scientists reported progress recently in using a common virus to develop improved materials for high-performance, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that could be woven into clothing to power portable electronic devices.

These new power sources could in the future be woven into fabrics such as uniforms or ballistic vests, and poured or sprayed into containers of any size and shape, said Mark Allen, Ph.D. “We’re talking about fabrics that also are batteries,” Allen said. “The batteries, once woven into clothing, could provide power for a range of high-tech devices, including handheld radios, GPS devices and personal digital assistants.

They could also be used in everyday cell phones and smart phones.”

Batteries produce electricity by converting chemical energy into electrical energy using two electrodes — an anode and cathode — separated by an electrolyte. Allen described development of new cathodes made from an iron-fluoride material that could soon produce lightweight and flexible batteries with minimal loss of power, performance, or chargeability compared to today’s rechargeable power sources.

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