Surfingall

Get Go Entertain Enjoy Energy

Now, ‘Smart Clothes’ To Power Hand-held Electronics

Posted by surfingall on April 5, 2010


University of California, Berkeley, engineers have created energy-scavenging nanofibres that could one day be woven into clothing and textiles. The nanofibres can convert energy from mechanical stresses and into electricity, and could one day be used to create clothing that can power small electronics. These nano-sized generators have “piezoelectric” properties that allow them to convert into electricity the energy created through mechanical stress, stretches and twists.

“This technology could eventually lead to wearable ‘smart clothes’ that can power hand-held electronics through ordinary body movements,” said Liwei Lin, UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering and head of the international research team that developed the fiber nano generators.

Because the nanofibres are made from organic polyvinylidene fluoride, or PVDF, they are flexible and relatively easy and cheap to manufacture. Although they are still working out the exact calculations, the researchers noted that more vigorous movements, such as the kind one would create while dancing the electric boogaloo, should theoretically generate more power, because the nanofibres are so small, we could weave them right into clothes with no perceptible change in comfort for the user,” said Lin, who is also co-director of the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center at UC Berkeley.

The goal of harvesting energy from mechanical movements through wearable nanogenerators is not new. Other research teams have previously made nanogenerators out of inorganic semiconducting materials, such as zinc oxide or barium titanate.

The tiny nanogenerators have diameters as small as 500 nanometers, or about 100 times thinner than a human hair and one-tenth the width of common cloth fibres. The researchers repeatedly tugged and tweaked the nanofibres, generating electrical outputs ranging from 5 to 30 millivolts and 0.5 to 3 nanoamps. Furthermore, the researchers report no noticeable degradation after stretching and releasing the nanofibres for 100 minutes at a frequency of 0.5 hertz (cycles per second).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: