Unlike existing types of batteries, composite polymer supercapacitors accumulate and release a charge in seconds (maximum, minutes), not hours. But they have their drawbacks - each such cycle reduces the resource of the capacitor, in addition, they are very fragile and short-lived. However, researchers at the University of Cambridge believe that the "candy method" they developed will help solve this problem.
The peculiarity of supercapacitors is that ions from the conducting layer of polymers penetrate into the base material. This allows more charge to be stored than using the surface layer alone. But the depth of penetration is small, and so that the rest of the electrode does not remain a dead weight, it is made extremely thin and two layers of polymers are intertwined at the nanoscale. The contact area increases significantly, but the strength of such a structure leaves much to be desired.
Stoyan Smukov's group from Cambridge describes their invention as analogous to the traditional American Christmas candy. The red and white stripes of the two polymers always follow each other, while they twist into a spiral, but stretched in space. It is relatively easy, cheap to implement, and provides strength and flexibility to the entire supercapacitor design.
Previously, the same team made progress in the development of the concept of interpenetrating polymer networks, their new development is an attempt to adapt the theory to the problem of energy storage. All work is of a theoretical nature and at the moment there is a search for materials and technologies with which it would be possible to build a prototype of such a supercapacitor. If the project succeeds, the next generation of the Internet of Things will use a fundamentally different energy base than existing gadgets.