A team of researchers from Rice University has found a way to power almost any object by spraying with a paint that has been formulated to function as a battery.
Now researchers have succeeded in painting these batteries onto a diverse range of surfaces, including glass slides, stainless steel, flexible plastic sheets, glazed ceramic tiles, and even the curved side of a beer mug.
"We can convert almost any object to a battery," Neelam Singh, a materials scientist at Rice University in Houston, told InnovationNewsDaily.
Batteries that the researchers printed onto nine ceramic bathroom tiles could readily power 40 red LED lights. One of these battery tiles was topped with a solar power cell that helped charge the batteries, suggesting the researchers could give any surface the capability to both harvest and store energy.
The material onto which the batteries were painted apparently had no effect on the performance of the devices. This suggests this technology could find its way into a wide range of construction materials and household objects.
"You could turn your home into a battery," Singh said.
The researchers do caution that fabricating these batteries requires the use of toxic, flammable and potentially corrosive materials in an oxygen-free and moisture-free environment. Employing safer battery materials along with oxygen- and moisture-resistant paints could allow even the general public to spray-paint batteries.