On the way to the widespread use of wearable gadgets and IoT devices are bulky inefficient batteries that not only take up a lot of space, but also require constant recharging. The problem can be solved by tensile materials created by Japanese scientists, which during expansion are able to collect the energy necessary for the device to work.
Stretch materials for energy collection should not only be flexible, but also provide sufficient power to support the operation of the device without additional recharging. Until now, it has not been possible to create such a technology. However, a research team from Nagoya University overcame the problem of extensibility and low power output.
“We have created a transparent and extensible triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) that can follow human movements with a thin film of carbon nanotubes (CNT film) as an electrode for TENG. The fabricated TENG has a simple structure: a CNT film is placed inside a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer. Its transparency is more than 90%, ”the scientists say.
The process of converting mechanical energy into electricity is called “contact electrification” or “electrostatic induction”. Researchers made a TENG with an area of 12×12 centimeters, achieving an output power density of 8 W per square meter. During the experiment, the TENG was placed in a glove from the inside of the palm, and blue LEDs were located outside. The latter glowed when moving with the hand when the glove was stretched. It is reported that the glove can be used many times without the risk of impairing its performance.
Scientists have now confirmed the excellent results of the experiment. According to them, extensible generators can be the first step in reducing the dependence on batteries for wearable devices.