Researcher Julio D’Arcy from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and his colleagues have done something incredible, they have turned bricks into batteries.
To do this, the team took ordinary construction bricks and heated them with acid vapor. This process dissolves the haematite mineral, which gives the bricks their red color. What’s left is a brownish-blue brick filled with tiny conductive PEDOT fibers that are coated with epoxy to make them waterproof.
At this point, the bricks can be hooked up to a power source to be charged up. Three bricks measuring 1.6 in. x 1.2 in. x 0.4 in. each can power an LED for 10 minutes. Amazingly, these brick batteries can be charged up to 10,000 times and retain 90+ percent of their storage capacity.
The researchers still need to do mechanical testing to check the strength of the bricks. If they can make it a viable building material and bring the cost down to a competitive rate, we could see building walls that we can plug our devices directly into.