Plastic promises hope for batteries

plasticsA University of Stanford team is outlining the future of batteries and solar cells – and it’s plastic that will lead the way.

The university said that there’s an emerging class of electrically conductive plastics called radical polymers that promise low cost solar cells, flexible and lightweight batteries and antistatic coatings for electronics and for aircraft.

Essentially, according to professor Bryan Boudouris, a polymer called PTMA is 10 times more electrically conductive than convential semiconductor based polymers.

Plus, he explained, it’s as easy to manufacture as Plexigas with the difference that it has electronic properties.

Nevertheless, although these polymers are used in new types of batteries, it will be necessary to increase the conductivity by 100s or 1,000s of times.

The polymers are created by replacing a specific hydrogen atom with an oxygen atom.

The research is funded by the US National Science Foundation, the US air force, and DARPA – the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.