Edible Battery Made Of Almonds For Use In Ingestible Medical Devices

Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology in Milan have developed the rechargeable prototype out of common-place food stuffs with the hopes of revolutionising ingestible medical devices.

The core of the device is represented by a couple of electrodes… To have it working we are using two materials, two molecules. For the anode, we are using riboflavin which is a vitamin we can find in almonds… and for the Cathode we are using quercetin. It’s sold as a food supplement and can be found in capers,” explained Mario Caironi, the coordinator of the project. Ingestible devices like biosensors, cameras, and drug delivery systems already exist but typically cannot be digested by the human body. Therefore, if complications arise during the digestion process, surgical intervention can be required to remove the device. The advantage of this gadget made from almonds, capers, activated charcoal, seaweed, gold leaf and beeswax, is that it can be digested completely without any health risks.

Other potential applications aside from health devices could include food quality monitoring  edible soft robotics. The battery prototype operates at 0.65 volts, which is too low to cause problems inside the human body. It provides a current of 48 microamps for up to 12 minutes and can power a small LED or other miniature electronic devices. The team is now working to boost capacity as well as shrink the device into a pill-sized container that would be easier to swallow.

The proof-of-concept battery cell was described recently in a paper published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Source: https://www.euronews.com/

Metallic Wood

Researchers at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and the University of Cambridge have built a sheet of nickel with nanoscale pores that make it as strong as titanium, but four to five times lighter. The empty space of the pores, and the self-assembly process in which they’re made, make the porous metal akin to a natural material, such as wood. And just as the porosity of wood grain serves the biological function of transporting energy, the empty space in the researchers’ “metallic wood” could be infused with other materials. Infusing the scaffolding with anode and cathode materials would enable this metallic wood to serve double duty: a plane wing or prosthetic leg that’s also a battery. The study was led by James Pikul, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at Penn Engineering.

Metallic wood foil on a plastic backing

The reason we call it metallic wood is not just its density, which is about that of wood, but its cellular nature,” Pikul says. “Cellular materials are porous; if you look at wood grain, that’s what you’re seeing—parts that are thick and dense and made to hold the structure, and parts that are porous and made to support biological functions, like transport to and from cells.

The study has been published in Nature Scientific Reports,

Source: https://penntoday.upenn.edu/

New Cathode Triples the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries

As the demand for smartphones, electric vehicles, and renewable energy continues to rise, scientists are searching for ways to improve lithium-ion batteries—the most common type of battery found in home electronics and a promising solution for grid-scale energy storage. Increasing the energy density of lithium-ion batteries could facilitate the development of advanced technologies with long-lasting batteries, as well as the widespread use of wind and solar energy. Now, researchers have made significant progress toward achieving that goal. A collaboration led by scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD), the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the U.S. Army Research Lab have developed and studied a new cathode material that could triple the energy density of lithium-ion battery electrodes

Lithium-ion batteries consist of an anode and a cathode,” said Xiulin Fan, a scientist at UMD and one of the lead authors of the paper. “Compared to the large capacity of the commercial graphite anodes used in lithium-ion batteries, the capacity of the cathodes is far more limited. Cathode materials are always the bottleneck for further improving the energy density of lithium-ion batteries.

Scientists at UMD synthesized a new cathode material, a modified and engineered form of iron trifluoride (FeF3), which is composed of cost-effective and environmentally benign elements—iron and fluorine. Researchers have been interested in using chemical compounds like FeF3 in lithium-ion batteries because they offer inherently higher capacities than traditional cathode materials.

The materials normally used in lithium-ion batteries are based on intercalation chemistry,” said Enyuan Hu, a chemist at Brookhaven and one of the lead authors of the paper. “This type of chemical reaction is very efficient; however, it only transfers a single electron, so the cathode capacity is limited. Some compounds like FeF3 are capable of transferring multiple electrons through a more complex reaction mechanism, called a conversion reaction.

The findings are published in Nature Communications.

Source: https://www.bnl.gov/