Kevlar-shielded breakthrough could make thinner, safer batteries and slimmer devices a reality

Kevlar-shielded breakthrough could make thinner, safer batteries and slimmer devices a reality
What's the pathway to thinner batteries that last longer? Good question, as new battery tech could very well be the key to even thinner smartphones and tablets, not to mention more elegant wearables. Well, this team of University of Michigan researchers thinks it has the answer - kevlar! We're used to seeing the tough material in all kinds of unexpected places, but the researchers went for nano-scale development and made special nano-sized kevlar membranes that insulate a lithium-ion battery's electrodes, stifling the growth of metal tendrils that leak current. Simultaneously, it lets those charged lithium ions pass the current to the proper circuits. 

The researchers achieved this by layering fibers on top of each other in thin sheets, which ensures good lithium-ion connectivity between the electrodes. Not only will the technology give devices lesser chances at short-circuiting and burning a hole in your pockets, but it will let batteries store more energy on the same space, which will lead to - you guessed it - thinner units with higher capacities. 

Mass production of the material is scheduled to start in late 2016, while 30 unnamed companies - but let your imagination and knowledge of the mobile industry fill in some of the names - have already requested samples of the kevlar solution. This should pair nicely with Microsoft's borderline black magic light charging method. Doesn't science rock?


source: University of Michigan via Engadget
Photos by Joseph Xu

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12 Comments

1. iampun33t

Posts: 136; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

Finally Some evolution in the battery department..!!!

2. Bishop_99

Posts: 75; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Making phones thinner than what they already are is completely pointless. Why waste the advancements made in the battery department, by making the phones thinner?

6. dimas

Posts: 3363; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

I think they also have to feed the replacement battery and phone case manufacturers. Example is iPhone, it got thin build and small battery so that extended battery makers can create something not too bulky for the gadget. If they made it 8mm to 9mm, nobody would want to buy thick ugly cases.

7. Bishop_99

Posts: 75; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

The iPhone is way too thin imo. Maybe a lot of people like thin phones, but even with the cases, it doesn't make add much bulk to it. The iPhone could have been thicker, no need for it to be so thin. I just don't get this trend of making the phones so thin. New battery technology? They will just throw it away to use smaller and thinner batteries. Pointless imo.

10. AJmeBOY

Posts: 34; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

They intentionally left it thin knowing that the battery life would be poor. That way, 6mos after launch they can introduce a "game changer/revolutionary technology" in which they added 3 hours to the abysmal battery and can hide the camera bulge. Nothing else will have changed and iPeople will be lining up for hours. Meanwhile, I use ~24% of my Turbo battery in a full work day of moderate to heavy use.

11. JC557

Posts: 1919; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

I'm okay with it as it gives people a choice but if all OEMs start making nothing but thin phones for various reasons (even environmental ones) then it definitely won't be cool. I also blame those idiots with pants so skinny only a single credit card could fit in the pockets.

3. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

I am sick and tired of all these 'breakthroughs'. It's taking far too long to make it into the smartphones while the chase of pixels is increasing at such a pace.

4. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

This is great and now I can use thinner phones with thin batteries having solid backup. But again the phones could go thinner.

5. dimas

Posts: 3363; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

How about phones with decent thickness, not less than 8mm with massive battery? Going thin doesn't always equate to being durable.

12. JC557

Posts: 1919; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

I think thin phones aren't really comfortable to hold either. I do recall having some issues holding my Motorola Razr V3 and RIZR. I also had some issues holding the iPhone 6 and iPod Touch 5th gen without cases.

8. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

Kevlar FTW! I miss my old Motorola :(

9. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I had a xt910, had loudest speaker on something so small I have ever heard. Neighbors asked me what rocking so loud, he could not believe it was a phone.

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