Manchester Metropolitan University is reportedly working on a project whereby “super batteries” are to be 3D printed using ink created from the futuristic, magical material that will solve all the worlds problems, graphene.
Graphene has often been touted as the magic ticket to improve the much maligned batteries that our addiction to 24 hour information and ever more power hungry gadgets require we consume at ever greater capacity.
Due to Graphene’s impressive and otherworldly conductivity, it would be the ideal battery stuffing but boffins have struggled with the fact it has a sub-par surface area.
The solution put forward by those clever chaps at MMU is to utilise 3D printing, assembling layers of graphene on top of one another and therefore maximising surface area and increasing capapcity. Researchers at MMU are formulating techniques for printing with the super conductive graphene ink, not only trying to create better batteries but also super capacitors able to charge and discharge at lightning speeds and other energy storage devices with help from a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The ultimate aim is to have a desktop machine that can print graphene matrices to order but currently the process needs further refining as it takes an hour for each layer to dry before the next layer can be printed on top, not very commercially viable.
As with all the reports that come out about graphene, we’d suggest you don’t get your hopes up for getting a phone that will last more than a day anytime soon. we are constantly hearing how amazing graphene is and how it will improve batteries, computers, quantum processors, cure baldness, find your lost keys and stop the neighbours cat from shitting on your petunias, but so far precious few real life applications have actually made it into the commercial market, let alone consumers grubby paws.