North West | Energy, utilities | Technology & innovation
Electricity right from your clothes? St. Pete team proves it possible
4 Apr '18
Researchers at the ITMO University in St. Petersburg have developed special nanoparticle-based dye which could be used to print “electrical generators” right on one’s clothes and generate electricity when walking or doing other things, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.
These are what experts call piezoelectric generators—devices that can convert the energy of movement or mechanical deformations into electrical current. Such systems can be used, among other things, to incorporate generators like these in clothes or shoe soles to recharge mobile gadgets.
Most of similar devices are currently made of inflexible solids like silicon or ceramics, and applying such materials to clothes or footwear causes real problems.
In St. Pete, the researchers used a conventional jet printer to make complex polymeric nanodimensional structures that consisted of short protein molecules. These were two phenylalanine amino acid molecules “glued” together.
Experiments have resulted in developing flexible material that is said to possess strong piezoelectric properties and rival the best ceramic and silicon competition in its other characteristics.