Researchers at Vanderbilt University have created a structural supercapacitor that could, they believe, bring this closer to reality, making batteries and power cords obsolete. The structural supercapacitor could make it possible to store energy directly in structural materials, allowing them to deliver power long-term while surviving the real-life mechanical stresses they're bound to experience.
The team's new supercapacitor looks like a thin grey wafer, and is made of silicon electrodes that have been chemically treated to have inner surfaces containing nanoscale pores. Instead of storing energy in chemical reactions, like batteries, the supercapictor stores power by assembling electrically-charged ions on the surface of the porous material. In a recent test, the supercapacitor was able to store and release power without a hitch, the team reported, even when it was subjected to vibrational accelerations exceeding 80 g and stresses of up to 44 psi.
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