Over the years we’ve seen batteries made from an incredible range of materials – from mud to coffee to water. However researchers from the University of Central Florida may have found the lightest (and most bizarre) battery material yet – ‘frozen smoke’, also known as Aerogel. One of the world’s lightest solids, aerogel contains multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) which each one several thousands thinner than human hair. The researchers, Associate Professor Lei Zhai and Postdoctoral Associate Jianhua Zou, believe that this material could soon become the best energy storage material for capacitors and batteries.

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Due to its carbon nanotube structure, the battery material would be able to detect even the slightest changes in pressure or temperature. As they also make up a large surface area, the nanotubes would be better able to store energy than conventional batteries.

“This has many potential applications and could really open up new areas to explore that we haven’t even imagined yet,” Zhai said. There is already speculation that the material could be used in super-capacitors, where the multi-walled carbon nanotubes would allow huge amounts of energy discharged in short bursts.

Either way, we definitely think they should use the name ‘frozen smoke’ over aerogel.

+ University of Central Florida

Via Eurekalert