Flexible batteries refer to batteries that can be folded and twisted at will, including primary and secondary batteries. Unlike traditional rigid batteries, their design is conformal and flexible. They can maintain their characteristic shape even when continuously bent or twisted. It is to turn the traditional liquid electrolyte into a solid-state, and “print” the internal structure of the traditional lithium-ion battery on the flexible substrate so that the battery will not be “powered off” even if it is bent or folded, thereby ensuring the battery It can work normally even after bending or folding.
Demand for flexible batteries
We are used to thinking of batteries as bulky tools that can store energy and power electronic devices. For a long time, disposable carbon-zinc batteries, rechargeable lead-acid batteries, and nickel-cadmium batteries have been dominant.
With the emergence of portable devices such as netbooks, ultrabooks, and other handheld devices, the battery market has seen explosive growth of various types, among which the most popular is lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. However, as electronic products become thinner and more flexible, batteries must now get rid of their rigid form and adapt to their bending. Therefore, the thin-film flexible battery market has also followed.
Market observer IDTechEx predicts in their new report that by 2026, the current small thin-film battery market will reach US$470 million. According to He Xiaoxi, a technical analyst at IDTechEx, this is the reason why companies such as TDK, STMicroelectronics, LG, Samsung, and Apple are increasingly involved. Considering the Internet of Things, the deployment of wearable devices and other environmental sensors is getting faster and faster, and it is imperative to replace traditional battery technology. New dimensions and designs are urgently needed. For example, Samsung has a curved battery in the Gear Fit wristband.
Flexible battery manufacturers
The GREPOW battery manufacturer has more than 20 years of battery manufacturing experience. Special-shaped battery technology is mature. The advantages of the special-shaped battery are their adaptability, lightweight and portability, which makes them easy to be used in products such as small and wearable electronic devices. achieve. Therefore, GREPOW is working hard to manufacture different shaped batteries, including rechargeable batteries with high energy density and good shape, and is in a leading position in the industry. Here are two types of batteries related to flexible batteries: curved batteries, Thickness: 1.6 mm ~ 4.5 mm; Width: 6.0 mm ~ 50 mm; Inner arc length: 20 mm ~ 55 mm; Inner arc radius: ≥8.5 mm.
Another GREPOW special-shaped battery: ultra-thin battery, Charge the battery to 3.83v and fix the battery to the surface of the white PVC card. Fix the cell pole card to the bending and torsion tester, 15 degrees forward and backward, and 30 degrees total distortion, for bending and torsion test. After the bending and torsion test of the 0.45mm ultra-thin cell for 9000 times, the surface of the cell was folded and the internal pole sheet had creases. The internal resistance increased by about 45%. The voltage before and after the bending and torsion basically remained unchanged.
STMicroelectronics (ST) is producing thin-film solid-state lithium batteries in small quantities. The report said that two other companies are producing printed batteries. Therefore, there are now various flexible batteries on the market competing for power to power several devices.
Other companies are also trying other strategies. For example, TDK is developing battery-less energy harvesters. The idea is because IoT nodes and wearable devices require extremely low power to operate, so they can be operated by energy harvesters instead of batteries. Other companies such as Oakridge Global Energy Solutions Inc. plan to increase production capacity at their Brevard County, Florida plant. They will manufacture electrodes and batteries for thin-film solid-state lithium batteries. They acquired this technology from Oak Ridge Micro-Energy Inc. in 2002 and plan to start mass production in early 2017.
Types and applications of flexible batteries
Various flexible batteries will soon be on the market. These will include thin-film batteries, printed batteries, layered lithium polymer batteries, micro-batteries, advanced lithium-ion batteries, thin flexible supercapacitors, and stretchable batteries.
Understandably, they will have multiple uses. For example, wearable devices are expected to become the greatest potential for flexible batteries. Printed batteries in the form of skin patches have been used in the healthcare industry, and the market is growing steadily. At present, although the high cost of printed zinc batteries hinders its widespread application, this application has the greatest potential. According to the IDTechEx report, the market for micro-power batteries that power disposable medical devices will expand rapidly.
There are other requirements for batteries that power various types of power sources, displays, and flexible sensors. The U.S. Department of Defense has invested $75 million to create the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute in San Jose.
The promotion of flexible batteries and flexible electronics is of great significance. Based on the demand for electronic equipment for batteries, the promotion of flexible battery technology and the cooperation of flexible display, biosensor, and flexible circuit technologies will help to develop more flexible electronic devices for medical health monitoring, smart textiles, smartphones, and global It is applied in multiple scenarios such as positioning system tracking, Internet of Things, and human-computer interaction.