Scientists have found a way to turn your body into a battery... with your clothes

Scientists have found a way to turn your body into a battery… with your clothes

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  • Scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have come up with a way to turn your body into a battery through clothes.
  • A piece of fabric 3 centimeters by 4 centimeters generated enough energy to power 100 light-emitting diodes for five months.
  • This durability is due to a polymer that converts mechanical stress into electricity when squeezed, stretched or squeezed.

    Batteries provide power to electronic devices. Your body generates and uses energy. Ergo, you’re basically a battery.

    When you run, walk or even breathe, your body moves. A system sophisticated enough to collect and store this output can transpose it into energy for the electronic devices we carry with us every day. The obvious substrate in which to build such a system is our clothes, because they move with us.

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    But without a series of wires or magnetic coils, how can clothes made of cotton, wool, polyester or even leather collect, store and transport electricity? A team from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore think they have the answers to finally harness your indoor generator and save you from having to borrow a charging cord.

    The laundry-proof concept

    Human movement powering electrical machinery is not new. An artsy neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada, already uses footsteps to power its lighting, and a nightclub in Glasgow, Scotland announced last year that it would use the energy of all those bodies dancers to power its heating and cooling systems.

    Even power-generating systems in clothing have been around for a while, with tiny wires and circuits embedded in the fabric. The downside of these projects so far is that the sensitive circuitry doesn’t respond well to being squished in a drawer or whitewashed.

    But that’s where the NTU team gave the idea of ​​your weekly walk by charging your iPhone a huge boost in the arm: the 3cm by 4cm piece of fabric that emerged from their evidence of concept generated enough energy. to power 100 light-emitting diodes (LEDs). And after washing, folding or crumpling the fabric, it continued to perform at the same level for up to five months. A recent article describing their work appears in the journal Advanced materials.

    It works so well because one of the components of the material is a polymer that converts mechanical stress into electricity when squeezed, stretched, or squeezed by friction when it comes into contact with another surface, such as skin. It works well for so long because its rubbery behavior makes it strong, flexible and waterproof.

    Build the battery

    To build their body battery, NTU scientists first screen-printed an electrode pattern onto a material composed of silver and a chemical called styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS), the basis of a foam-like rubber that you might find in the bike. handlebar grips.

    The electrode is then attached to a piece of nanofiber made up of… deep breath … poly(vinylidene fluoride)-co-hexafluoropropylene (PVDF-HPF), a powerful piezoelectric material, and perovskites, which are calcium and titanium oxide minerals. PVDF-HPF produces an electrical charge when stretched or squeezed, and perovskite is a crystal structure that scientists have known for nearly two centuries, but only recently caught on in solar cell research. and LEDs.

    NTU scientists have found that incorporating perovskites into PVDF-HPF increases electrical power, and even though perovskites are brittle in nature, they are made much more durable, stable and flexible when bonded so tightly to the PVDF-HPF.

    The research fabric prototype is designed to generate 2.34 watts of electricity per square meter, which is enough to run your phone or portable device.

    So while The Matrix felt like a nightmare, the reality of human batteries could actually be quite practical.

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