Washington, August 24 (ANI): Scientists have used a common virus to develop improved materials for high-performance that 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.
These conformable batteries could power smart phones, GPS units, and other portable electronic devices.
"We're talking about fabrics that also are batteries," Mark Allen, who presented the report, 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.
At the ACS meeting, 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.
The virus, called M13 bacteriophage, consists of an outer coat of protein surrounding an inner core of genes. It infects bacteria and is harmless to people.
"Using M13 bacteriophage as a template is an example of green chemistry, an environmentally friendly method of producing the battery," Allen said.
"It enables the processing of all materials at room temperature and in water."
And these materials, he said, should be less dangerous than those used in current lithium-ion batteries because they produce less heat, which reduces flammability risks.
They discussed development of the new materials for the battery's cathode, or positive electrode, at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). (ANI)