Stretchy fabric turns body movements into electricity

The tissue, created at Nanyang Technological University, is a device for collecting

energy. The development prototype uses the piezoelectric effect in compression and tension, and the triboelectric effect in surface contact with other materials.

The key component of the new fabric ispoly(vinylidene fluoride)-co-hexafluoropropylene, a polymer that, when pressed or compressed, converts mechanical stress into electrical energy. It is made with stretch spandex as the base layer and is integrated with a rubber-like material, making it durable, flexible and waterproof.

To make a prototype, the engineers printedstretchable electrode using "ink" containing silver and rubbery styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene. And attached it to a piece of nanofiber fabric, consisting of two main components: a polymer and lead-free perovskites.

In an experiment, the researchers showed that the newthe tissue exhibits a high electrical power output (400 V, 1.63 µA cm2 and 2.34 W m2). The authors of the work say that a piece of new fabric measuring 3 by 4 cm generates enough energy to light 100 LEDs. At the same time, washing, folding and squeezing the fabric did not affect the performance of the device.

Scientists suggest that their prototype can bewoven into the fabric of clothes or included in the soles of shoes to collect energy from the slightest movements of the body and transmit electricity to mobile devices.

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