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Fabric: Which Uses Sun And Wind To Power Devices

fabric which uses sun and wind to power devices. (Image Courtesy: Google)

Power generation by newer and innovative ways is one of the prime concern in today’s scenario.

A newer fabric is found which can generate electricity from the physical movement. This findings were in work since few years.

Now the researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has taken a step ahead while developing a fabric which can simultaneously harvest energy from both sunshine and motion.

While combining this two types of electricity generation into one textile it is paving way for developing garments. It would provide their own source of energy to the power devices which includes smart phones or global positioning systems.

A piece of fabric was woven with special strands of material that harvest electricity from the sun and motion. (Image Courtesy: Google)
A piece of fabric was woven with special strands of material that harvest electricity from the sun and motion. (Image courtesy: Google)

Novel Solution for Recharging by Fabric:

Zhong Lin Wang who is a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering commenting over the same says, “This hybrid power textile presents a novel solution to charging devices in the field from something as simple as the wind blowing on a sunny day.”

Research was reported on 12th September in Nature Energy. For making this fabric, Wang’s team has used a commercial textile machine which can weave together solar cells being constructed from lightweight polymer fibres. It is with fibre based triboelectric nanogenerators.

Triboelectric nanogenerators is using a combination of the triboelectric effect and electrostatic induction for generating smaller amount of electric power.

It is using mechanical motion which includes rotation, sliding or vibration.

Wang envisions that the newer fabric which is having 320 micrometers thick woven together with the strands of wool which could be integrated into tents, curtains or wearable garments.

Wang adding to the same says, “The fabric is highly flexible, breathable, light weight and adaptable to a range of uses.”

Source: Sustainability Theory – YouTube

Triboelectric Nanogenerators: Capturing Energy

Fiber based triboelectric nanogenerators is capturing energy which is created when certain materials become electrically charged after they come into moving contact with different material.

For the case of sunlight harvesting part of the fabric, Wang’s team has used photoanodes which is wire –shaped fashion could be woven together with other fibres.

Wang adding to the same says, “The backbone of the textile is made of commonly-used polymer materials that are inexpensive to make and environmentally friendly. The electrodes are also made through a low cost process, which makes it possible to use large-scale manufacturing.”

In one of their experiments, team of researchers has used a fabric which is only about the size of a sheet of office paper.

It has also attached it to the rod like a small colourful flag. Rolling down the windows in a car and letting the flag blow in the wind.

Researchers were able to generate quite significant power from the moving car over a cloudy day. They also measured the output by a 4 by 5 centimetre piece which got charged up a 2 mF commercial capacitor to 2 volts in one minute under sunlight and movement.

Wang says, “That indicates it has a decent capability of working even in a harsh environment.” During the early tests it is indicative that the fabric can withstand repeated and rigorous use.

Researchers will be looking into its long term durability. Next steps will also include further optimising the fabric for the industrial use.

It will also include developing proper encapsulation for protecting the electrical components from rain and moisture.

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