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D'Arcy laboratory/Department of Chemistry/Washington University in St. Louis

These conventional bricks can store power

Researchers have transformed standard bricks into energy-storing devices, The Guardian reports, potentially adding a new function to these omnipresent construction materials. The team created these “power bricks” by utilizing the iron oxide stored in the brick that gives it a red color. Using chemical vapors that reacted with the iron, they deposited a layer of special conductive plastic, known as PEDOT, throughout the brick’s pores. When two bricks were put together, they began to store charge, researchers reported this week in Nature Communications. These “power bricks” can be recharged more than 10,000 times before their energy-storing capacity significantly degrades. However, the amount of energy they can store is very small: just 1% of that stored in a lithium-ion battery of same size. The team hopes to improve the energy-storage capacity of these bricks by experimenting with adding materials such as metal oxides to the brick.

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