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Foldable battery shown off, could power future foldable devices, smart clothing

Today's foldable phones currently use two batteries, but a foldable battery could improve matters in a big way.

Published onSeptember 26, 2019

A foldable battery.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold and HUAWEI Mate X represent the first wave of foldable phones, offering drastically different takes on the formula.

But the one thing these two devices have in common is that they both use two smaller batteries instead of one large one due to their foldable nature. Fortunately, researchers at ETH Zurich (h/t: Pocket Now) have demonstrated a foldable battery that could power future foldable phones and wearables.

The new battery can be folded, twisted, and stretched without interrupting the supply of power, according to the research team.

So how does it work?

A foldable battery.

“The two current collectors for the anode and the cathode consist of bendable polymer composite that contains electrically conductive carbon and that also serves as the outer shell,” reads an explanation by the university.

“On the interior surface of the composite, the researchers applied a thin layer of micron-sized silver flakes. Due to the way the flakes overlap like roof tiles, they don’t lose contact with one another when the elastomer is stretched.”

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These flakes ensure conductivity of the current collectors, but what if they do lose contact with one another for some reason? The team says the carbon-containing composite is then able to carry a weaker current.

More research is necessary before the foldable battery is available for commercial applications, but it could prove to be a game changer for foldable devices.

This could allow for more interesting designs, as the manufacturer wouldn’t have to use multiple batteries or keep said power packs in mind. This tech could also extend endurance in foldables, as the hinge area is no longer off-limits for the battery.

The team also notes that the battery could potentially be used for rollable displays, smartwatches, and smart clothing.

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