When you need to get rid of information quickly or simply give Mother Earth a day off, transient electronics are your allies. These devices can fulfill tasks we usually expect them too, before destructing at the contact with various materials, like light, heat or liquid. Scientists from Iowa State University managed to build one that destructs in 30 minutes after powering up a computer #hardwaremagic
Reza Montazami, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State University and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, developed this lithium-ion battery. It can deliver 2.5 volts, helping a desktop computer run for about 15 minutes before dissolving in water and disappearing from view. Montazami says this is the first transient battery that can be used by manufacturers as it’s got clearance for power, stability and shelf life.
The battery is made up of 8 layers of polymer composite, anode, cathode and electrolyte separator. This is all wrapped up in 2 layers of a polyvinyl alcohol-based polymer. It might seem much but the battery isn’t at all bulky; in fact, it’s extremely tiny – 1 millimeter thick, 5 millimeters long and 6 millimeters wide.
The polymer casing is vulnerable to water, swelling and breaking the electrodes before dissolving away. The battery seems to be gone, but the reality is nanoparticles remain and disperse, Montazami explains.
The battery is too small to be used by large electronics that require big power levels but a solution to this problem could be the connection of several transient batteries.