New York: Materials scientists from Drexel University in the US have invented a novel clay by mixing a new class of material and water.
The clay is highly conductive and can easily be moulded like cookie dough or Play-Doh compound into a variety of shapes and sizes and is familiar to elementary school kids.
According to the team, the titanium carbide clay, which belongs to a class of materials known as MXenes, could serve as battery material for next generation cars, mobile devices and even power grid super-capacitors.
It represents a shift from the rather complicated and costly process, currently used to make materials for lithium-ion batteries and super-capacitors, thereby resulting in a change in the way electrodes for storage devices are produced.
The clay, which already exhibits conductivity on par with that of metals, can be turned into a film - usable in an electrode - simply by rolling or pressing it.
"Both the physical properties of the clay, consisting of two-dimensional titanium carbide particles, as well as its performance characteristics, seem to make it an exceptionally viable candidate for use in energy storage devices like batteries and super-capacitors," said Yury Gogotsi, distinguished university and trustee chair professor in Drexel's College of Engineering.
The procedure to make the clay also uses much safer, readily available ingredients than the ones used to produce electrodes in the past, he added.
The study appeared in the journal Nature.