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Thu Aug 20, 2020, 09:55 AM

St. Louis Scientists Develop 'Smart Bricks' That Can Store Electricity

Ordinary red bricks can now be transformed into energy storage units, with a little help from a team of chemists and engineers at Washington University.

The bricks, which cost about $3 to make, are powerful enough to illuminate an LED light bulb — and could someday provide a new way to store renewable energy.

The technology hinges on the reddish pigment known as iron oxide, or rust, that gives bricks their color. Scientists pumped the bricks with several gases that react with the rust and produce a special, microscopic plastic capable of conducting electricity.

This network of plastic fibers coats the tiny pores inside the brick, said Julio D’Arcy, Washington University assistant professor of chemistry and study co-author.


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