3D printing has certainly taken off over the past couple of years as we’ve seen some amazing products created only using 3D printing. As impressed as we’ve been in the past over 3D printed goods, being able to 3D print batteries has just completely blown our minds.
In the past, 3D printing batteries has caused way too many issues to actually be implemented, but new inks and tools are now making the possibility of printing a 3D lithium ion battery a reality. Technology Review recently visited Harvard materials scientist Jennifer Lewis to see how her work in 3D printed batteries is coming along, and even though it’s in its early stages, it seems it won’t be too long until we are able to print out a pair of batteries.
Lewis uses a technique which makes use of a series of “functional inks that can solidify into batteries and simple components, including electrodes, wires, and antennas.” These components are then deposited using high-pressure extruders with extreme accuracy, which then forces out the ink at room temperature. The material then dries rather quickly in order to form the necessary component, making printing 3D batteries take only a few minutes. Now the next step would be to see how long they last for.