3D Printed Batteries

3D Printed batteries the size of a grain of sand are now reality. A team of engineers from Harvard and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have successfully 3D printed micro lithium-ion batteries. They are using a micro-printer to create ultrathin electrodes.  This will be encased and then filled with an electrolyte solution. The result is a functional battery about the size of a grain of sand. 

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Think about the smaller applications that could be made with batteries as small like this. Here are some examples that crossed my mind.

  • Implemented biomedical devices
  • Spy gear
  • Tiny robots

3D Printed Batteries The Size of a Grain of Sand

Researchers 3D print fully-functioning, lithium-ion microbatteries

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5 thoughts on “3D Printed Batteries

  1. Hello Jimmy,

    This can have a lot of applications. How about the efficiency of these batteries and the amount of power that they can generate? Is it of a magnitude that can be used for the mentioned applications?
    We see a lot of new possibilities that 3D-printing can offer, but will it eventually reach a barriere at which you can say: yes it is possible to make, but due to the current technologie we can not use this? For instance, the batteries, are there applications or actuators which you can power with these small batteries.

  2. Hi Jimmy,

    I immediately wondered the same that Jesse asks in his post. What is the amount of energy that these batteries can provide? Sure, batteries keep on getting smaller and even with this generating more power and for a longer period of time. But a battery the size of a grain of sand? I can’t imagine that this can deliver a lot of power, let alone for a long amount of time. It could perhaps be interesting in the startup of micro engines. Like in your car, they can deliver enough power in one ‘shock’ to start up the engine and then they reload themselves with energy coming from the engine. I think perhaps in very small medical applications this could be useful. But still, I doubt that such a small battery would be able to get a motor running. Interesting topic however, I never stood still at the infinite oppotunities such as batteries. Perhaps it can be the foundation for a new generation of even better batteries with better efficiency! I wonder what the future of 3D printing will hold for us!

    • Hi Jmassez & Olivier

      This is a first successful test for printing batteries. Now they will optimize it and try to get a higher efficiency and more capacity. I think that you need to see it in a bigger picture, you can put a lot of cells in series or parallel to create a large battary. If one cell will have a higher energy density than the cells we know now, than we could create smaller battery packs in the future.
      About the applications, maybe it’s because of there no batteries available that small that there does not exist applications. We’ll see what the future holds.

      Kind Regards.
      Jimmy

  3. Maybe this exposes another current problem of 3d-printing: mass production. Maybe a special kind of 3D printer can produce the best battery in the world, but such a printer can only print one or a few objects at a time. Is 3D printing tech scaleable enough to provide the world with these super-batteries at a reasonable cost, or is it still worthwhile to invest in a very specific manufacturing process for these batteries?

    • Hi Jan

      The high price of 3D printing is mainly due to the high cost of the printable materials. In the future this will definitely drop if there will be found cheaper production methods for the materials. I think 3D printing will not only be used for one or a few objects at a time in the future. This because there is almost no manual labor and the whole object can be made with one machine. So if we will use 3D printers on a scale like factories are now use robots, I think it’s possible to supply the whole world.

      Kind regards.
      Jimmy

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