Origami Batteries

Battery technology has been improving at a crazy rate in past years, getting smaller and more powerful with each passing year. Concurrent with all the previous advancements, this new innovation in battery technology is sure to make people…bend over backwards. Didn’t get that joke? Let me explain.

Hanqing Jiang, an associate professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, has recently created lithium-ion batteries that can stretch to over 150% of their original size. After talking with “an origami artist who showed [him] some famous origami patters,” Jiang used a variation of origami, kirigami, to create the stretchable batteries. (Just FYI, another style of origami, the Miura-ori fold, which is used to fold large maps into small rectangles, was originally used to help pack solar panels nicely into spacecraft)

The solar panels on the ISS were folded using an origami technique.

The batteries are made with slurries of lithium cobalt dioxide and graphite, which together can store and release electricity. They were then coated with aluminum foil, at which point the origami technique was used to cut the sheets into nice stretchy serpentine shapes.

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