Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a new battery that can be stretched or even washable.

According to the developers, the new battery can be washed 39 times and it will not change its properties in any way.

Wearable electronics is a big market and resilient batteries are an essential part of its development. Until now, however, such batteries could not be washed. This ability is critical if they have to meet the requirements for daily use.

Ngoc Tan Nguyen, study author and doctor

During the work, the researchers gave up trying to create a lithium-ion-based solution. They used cheap and safe manganese-zinc batteries – these are structures that integrate into a polymer to form ultra-thin elastic layers that are combined into a single fabric for use in a finished product.

The result is a device based on zinc-manganese batteries (accumulators), which will be safe for the skin, even if it fails. In comparison, lithium-ion batteries can release toxic components if broken.

Also, the device can be stretched twice. According to the developers, the battery retains 75% capacity after 500 charge cycles and, moreover, can withstand up to 39 washes in household and commercial machines.

Now developers are trying to increase the power of their device, as well as the service life. It is planned that the cost of new batteries will be comparable to the price of standard batteries with comparable characteristics when produced on an industrial scale.