Science museum ‘wellcomes’ new battery technology
Recent breakthroughs in research into rechargeable batteries at the University of St Andrews are being highlighted by The Science Museum in London.
The exhibition, currently on show at the Museum’s new Wellcome wing, will showcase the advances in new battery technology, which will power everything from artificial hearts and laptops to environmentally-friendly vehicles and mobile phones.
The display will demonstrate results of the pioneering research of Professor Peter Bruce’s group at the University’s School of Chemistry involving the development of new materials for smaller, lighter and less toxic batteries.
The work at St Andrews aims to offer improvements which will benefit a number of areas. For example, smaller and lighter batteries could mean that recipients of liver or heart pumps – or eventually whole artificial organs – will no longer have to carry a heavy battery pack around. Ultimately batteries which are sufficiently small and light-weight could be implanted into a patient’s body. In a process described as similar to charging an electric toothbrush, implant patients will be able to recharge their batteries through the skin, without having to make direct contact with the charger.
Such light-weight batteries will also aid the development of hybrid electric vehicles, which will help cut pollution and reduce the need to burn fossil fuels. Funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), a recent key advance in Professor Bruce’s research involved the design of a new type of solid that may ultimately be capable of replacing the liquid used as the electrolyte in most conventional batteries. ‘We were studying the structures of battery materials when we stumbled across the fact that some highly ordered polymer materials can act as electrolytes, ‘ said Professor Bruce.
The display is on view to the public in Antenna, a science and technology exhibition in the Science Museum’s new Wellcome Wing.
The exhibition: www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/antenna. http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/wel lcome-wing/splash_ie.html
Professor Bruce’s research pages at the University of St Andrews: http://caffreys.st-andrews.ac.uk/
NOTES TO EDITORS
Founder of the St Andrews Centre for Advanced materials, Professor Bruce sits on the editorial board of several journals including the Royal Society of Chemistry Dalton Transactions and has contributed to a number of textbooks. The author of a number of international patents, he is a well-regarded populariser of science and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1995.
In December 2001, Professor Bruce was presented with The Royal Society Merit Award – an accolade aimed at retaining top academics within the UK. Administered by The Royal Society using funds supplied by the Wolfson Foundation and Government, the prestigious five-year annual award is presented to a handful of “researchers of outstanding achievement” and provides the host universities with funds to support their research.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON PROFESSOR BRUCE’S RESEARCH, PLEASE CALL HIM DIRECT ON 01334 463825
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE SCIENCE MUSEUM’S EXHIBITION, PLEASE CALL NICK STEWART ON 020 7942 4815
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