Bricks Can Store Energy And Power Electrical Devices As Batteries

Dhir Acharya - Aug 13, 2020


Bricks Can Store Energy And Power Electrical Devices As Batteries

Bricks are not a great material for building homes but also a potential energy solution for the future. Chemists found that they can store energy.

There are several reasons why bricks are one of the most reliable materials to build houses. They are resilient to frost and high pressure. They excel in withstanding fluctuating temperatures without warping, shrinking, or expanding. They also absorb heat very well. They can reusable and durable. Even better, a new study points out that bricks can be developed to store energy as well.

Bricks have a brownish-red color due to hematite, an iron oxide often found in soil and rocks. But hematite is also used at the most advanced energy facilities. Therefore, the study authors have developed a method of modifying bricks to let them store electricity that can later be used for devices.

Chemists are turning bricks into batteries
Chemists are turning bricks into batteries

The chemists authoring this study coated some bricks with a gas that’s made of a particular molecule. Bricks are porous, the gas has got into every cranny and nook. When the molecule interacted with hematite, it started a polymerization reaction, which created PEDOT. This polymer can store and conduct electricity. When the chemists put the bricks in an oven, they came out blue instead of red, which was how they knew the process worked.

Using a solar cell, they divided the bricks into two halves, giving either of them positive and negative charges, then connected them with copper tape, which turned the bricks into a battery. They were then ready to store energy and provide power for a device with a flip of a switch.

They tried using this method to power an LED light, and it worked.

The bricks are powering a small LED light
The bricks are powering a small LED light

These brick batteries take 13 minutes to recharge and can last around 10,000 charges. The study result is very exciting and promising, but we cannot expect bricks to store a ton of energy yet.

According to a study author, 50 bricks and power 3W lights for 50 minutes, but the light intensity will decrease over that amount of time. Three watts is roughly the power of an LED desk lamp.

“We could just increase the number of bricks to increase the amount of energy you can stored, but we know that’s not a great strategy because coating more and more bricks can get expensive.”

Brick batteries can also power small devices like CO2 detectors, but the chemists are working on larger energy storage by using an order of magnitude. They hope to make the bricks store energy like a lithium battery. Their ultimate goal is to integrate the bricks into solar-powered houses to let them store energy for back up use in case of a power outage.

>>> Indian Students Develop UV E-Sanitizer To Kill COVID-19 On Your Belongings

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