"When it comes to something like advanced technology, Japan is always up there in the top 10 list. Although this fact doesn't come as much of a surprise, the fact that they're making batteries that can bend might."
Flexible battery packs are just one of many innovations taking place in Japan. While other countries seem content with wasting time and money on things like low-alcohol beer, Japan continues to impress us all with their vast amount of advancements. In fact, flexible battery packs were invented by a Japanese company known as GS Yuasa Corporation--an organization that's been around for over 80 years!
The initial idea behind creating this new type of battery was actually meant for a different application altogether. The intended use for this type of battery was to take care of a problem known as peukert's effect, which is often seen in lead acid batteries that are used by forklifts. Since the average forklift isn't going to be taken out anytime soon, it makes sense that these heavy-duty machines would require such a durable battery.
What is Peukert's Effect? Well, one way you can think about this is if you were considering buying a car and someone told you that they had another car sitting in the garage which got much better miles per gallon but wasn't nearly as fast or smooth on turns. This wouldn't really matter too much and you might even consider just taking both cars to "test drive" them to see which one you wanted. The person telling you this would probably be wondering why you were so interested in the slower car, but it turns out that people often think this way about batteries, too.
It might surprise you to know that batteries used for electric cars also fall victim to Peukert's Law--and yet they're still considered great because of all the other benefits they provide (safety, zero emissions, etc.) . Although voltage affects how well your battery performs (the higher voltage, the faster it charges), there are other factors at play as well. For example; if a lead acid battery's discharge is increased by even 1% (less than 10 amps) then its capacity to store energy will be reduced by 10 amps. This is known as Peukert's law and can be thought of as a measure for how many amps a battery can provide at a certain rate before the capacity begins to take a nose dive.
The Kinks: Bending Made Better
One way that engineers have been going around this problem is by making the batteries flatter, but they're still very rigid and aren't "flexible" enough to really be used in certain situations. For example, if you were designing a car that was meant to drive on rough terrain often, then wouldn't it make more sense to have some sort of fluid-like shape so that it could absorb the shock better? That's where flexible battery packs come in! They work in much the same way as the lead acid batteries do, but are "liquid" instead of being rigid. The flexibility makes it so that they can fit into tight spaces and absorb shocks much more efficiently.
While there's still room for improvement, this is a great step in the right direction! Now that we've established that flexible battery packs are awesome, what other kinds of awesome things are taking place in Japan?