The thought of living without smart phones can send some people into a panic attack! And the fact is, without small and powerful batteries, our pocket sized computers just wouldn�t exist. The race has been on to make batteries even smaller, and in the world of medicine, to make them biocompatible. An ideal one would power a device temporarily and then biodegrade harmlessly inside the body. Several are in development.
Australian scientists are working on a battery made of silk and gold. Batteries need three components to work. The anode and cathode are at either end and the middle is the electrolyte that allows the current to flow. In the new battery, the silk was made into a film which acts as a platform. Choline nitrate, a biochemical compound, was placed on the silk film as the electrolyte. To finish the ends, a magnesium alloy was the anode and the cathode used gold particles. The battery was sealed using additional silk. These silk bio-batteries are the size of a postage stamp, about point two millimeters thick and generates almost one volt � more than enough to power a small device for up to two hours.
Other researchers are also developing bio-batteries. One involves melanin, a pigment in the skin, and manganese oxide as the electrodes and sodium ions as the electrolyte. It also breaks down into non-toxic elements in the body.
Implanted devices could monitor a tissue and send back data, provide images deep inside the body, or dispense drugs as needed. No doubt bio-batteries will become a mainstay in the near future to ensure health and treat disease.
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Dissolvable Batteries Made of Silk
The biodegradable batteries produce enough voltage and should last long enough to power temporary medical implants...