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Rice University researchers create spray-on battery, powered bathroom tiles

Sean Buckley, @seaniccus
June 29, 2012
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Liquid solar cells are pretty neat, to be sure, but current-generating paint can be a hard color to match. Good thing, then, that researchers at Rice university have developed the perfect complement: a spray-on battery. By carefully layering five coats of specially formulated paint, the team has found a way to apply a thin coat of lithium ion storage to multiple surfaces, including glass, ceramics, steel and flexible polymers. Early experiments are promising -- after applying the process to nine ordinary bathroom tiles, the painted batteries were able to power a small array of LEDs (spelling "Rice") for six hours, consistently pumping out 2.4 volts of electricity. After 60 charge / discharge cycles, researches say the batteries retained most of their capacity. Neelam Singh, Rice graduate student and lead author of the team's report, says the technology will only improve when coupled with modern methods. "Spray painting is already an industrial process, so it will be very easy to incorporate this into industry," she said. "We really do consider this a paradigm changer." Scope out the processes (and its fruits) for yourself after the break.

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