Capacitor Thread Enables Clothing To Power Electronic Devices

First Posted: Dec 02, 2015 03:37 PM EST

Researchers have created new wearable super capacitor which is capable of powering mobile electronic devices, according to a study at Brunel University LondonThe researchers' new technology enabled them to create a super capacitor thread, which can be made into cloth. Now your clothes could be the ultimate power source for your smartphone and other portable devices.

"Supercapacitors are already ubiquitous as back-up power in phones, PCs and tablets," Professor David Harrison, co-author of the study from Brunel's Department of Design, said in a news release. "They store energy without a chemical reaction so can be charged and discharged almost indefinitely. But in thread form they have never before been able to break the 1V barrier."

Scientists have long attempted to create a super capacitor thread that can be made into cloth. However, they were unable to produce sufficient voltage for devices and it was difficult to mass produce commercially outside a lab.  

The researchers' new thread stores and supplies sufficient power for typical electronic devices. Also, the new product can be mass produced and can be classified as a commercial commodity.

"What we have done is show we can produce a multi-layered structure with two sequential capacitive layers capable of producing up to 2V," Harrison said. "We also wanted to address mass production issues so developed a process to semi-automatically coat stainless steel wire the thickness of a human hair with eight separate layers."

This study paves the way for a range of textiles and clothing to store and generate power.

The findings of this study were published in Emerald Insight.

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