Unlike existing types of batteries, composite polymer supercapacitors accumulate and give charge in seconds (maximum, minutes), not hours. But they have their drawbacks – each such cycle reduces the resource of the capacitor, in addition they are very fragile and short-lived. However, researchers at the University of Cambridge believe that the “candy method” developed by them will help to solve this problem.
The peculiarity of supercapacitors is that the ions from the conductive layer of polymers penetrate into the base material. This allows you to store a larger charge than using only the surface layer. But the depth of penetration is small, and so that the rest of the electrode does not remain a dead weight, it is made extremely thin and weave two layers of polymers together on the nanoscale. The area of contact increases at times, but the strength of this design leaves much to be desired.
Stoyan Smukov’s group from Cambridge describes his invention by analogy with the traditional American Christmas candy. Red and white strips of two polymers always follow one another, while they twist into a spiral, but stretched in space. This is relatively easy, cheap to implement and provides the strength and flexibility of the entire design of the supercapacitor.
Earlier the same team succeeded in developing the concept of interpenetrating polymer networks, their new development is an attempt to adapt the theory to the problem of energy storage. All the works are of a theoretical nature and at the moment there is a search for materials and technologies with which to build a prototype of such a supercapacitor. If the project succeeds, the next generation of Internet of things will use a fundamentally different energy base than existing gadgets .