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This Fabric Can Generate Electricity Out Of Sunlight And Motion

First Posted: Sep 16, 2016 06:22 AM EDT
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Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a fabric that can generate energy from the sun and by motion. This is a successful step forward in the development and study of materials to absorb natural elements and convert them into energy. The study has been in the works for the past few years.

Such an innovation will pave the way for introducing smart garments that will enable wearers to charge their smartphones and other devices through the garment. It could also make clothes a lot more technologically inclined and interactive, according to report by TechXplore.

Zhong Lin Wang who teaches at the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering, feels that the hybrid technology represents a unique solution charging devices on the field, taking sources from simple natural activities such as the blowing of the wind during a sunny day.

The research was published on September 12 in Nature Energy. In order to construct the fabric, Wang's team had woven together solar cells from light-weight polymer fibres with fibre-based triboelectric nanogenerators, which use a combination of the triboelectric effect and electrostatic induction to create some power through mechanical motion as simple as rotation, sliding or vibration, according to a report by the Georgia Tech News Center.

Wang is hopeful in the implementation of his project in real life, as the materials used to develop the fabric are easily available and the process to make one the electrodes is fairly low-cost, making large-scale manufacturing possible. By simply taking a fabric the size of a sheet of paper and letting it blow from the wind while in a moving car, the fabric was able to generate up to two volts of energy under one minute with continuous sunlight and movement.

Now the fabric will be studied more to test its resilience and scope of application. Steps to further optimize the fabric for industrial use such as making encapsulations to protect electrical wiring from rain and the elements, according to Laboratory Equipment.

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