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MXene: Our Energy Future May Lie in Batteries Made of Clay

Scientists say they've invented an electrically conductive material that can be molded and rolled out like cookie dough or the Play-Doh compound that's familiar to elementary-school kids. They say 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 supercapacitors.

Materials scientists and engineers from Drexel University outlined their method for making and using MXene-based clay in this week's issue of the journal Nature. The researchers tinkered with the formula for MXene film to produce a material that turned into clay when water was added but retained its conductive properties. "We were just hoping for a safer, less expensive way to make MXenes, when something even better landed on the table," Drexel's Michael Ghidiu said in a news release.

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In addition to Ghidiu, the authors of "Conductive Two-dimensional Titanium Carbide 'Clay' With High Volumetric Capacitance" include Maria Lukatskaya, Mengqiang Zhao, Yuri Gogotsi and Michel Barsoum.