The same mechanism that creates rust has inspired an ultra-strong supercapacitor able to withstand a hammer strike.
To create the supercapacitor, a team from Washington University controlled the formation of rust in a solution to grow a mat of conducting fibers onto a flexible layer of organic plastic—a bit like an open-faced sandwich. According to assistant professor Julio D’Arcy, the result is “… an interwoven mat of polymer nanofibers with a textile-like structure that is flexible and ideal for storing energy in a supercapacitor.”
The team tested the material’s strength by hammering it repeatedly, with the supercapacitor still retaining 74 percent energy storage efficiency after 40 hammer strikes.
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