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article imageElectric textile lights a lamp as it is stretched

By Tim Sandle     Mar 23, 2018 in Science
Gothenburg - Scientists have developed an electric textile that can generate sufficient power to light a lamp as it is stretched. This happens through the conversion of kinetic energy into electric power.
In a hurry? Working hard? If so, a new type of textile might be of interest if you wish to harness additional power. A new textile has been developed which is capable of converting kinetic energy into electric power. With the fabric, the greater the load applied to the textile and the wetter it becomes, then the more electricity the material generates. This novel idea comes from Chalmers University of Technology, in collaboration with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås and the research institute Swerea IVF.
The experimental fabric can currently produce sufficient power to light an light emitting diode, send wireless signals, or even drive small electric units like a pocket calculator or a digital watch. Longer-term the researchers hope that the fabric can power a range of devices as a person walks around, carrying out their everyday activities.
The technology works on the piezoelectric effect. This relates to the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. In the case of the new fabric, the generation of electricity comes from the deformation of a piezoelectric material when it is stretched.
The material is a type of yarn, made up of twenty-four fiber. Each fiber is around the thickness of a strand of hair. When the fibers are sufficiently moist they become enclosed in liquid and the yarn becomes more efficient, which improves the electrical contact between the fibers. A video describing the application of the technology in greater detail has been uploaded by the researchers onto Vimeo.
Speaking with Phys.org, the lead researcher Dr. Anja Lund said: "Woven textiles from piezoelectric yarns makes the technology easily accessible and it could be useful in everyday life. It's also possible to add more materials to the weave or to use it as a layer in a multi-layer product. It requires some modification, but it's possible."
The fabric has been discussed in the journal npj Flexible Electronics. The research paper is titled "Energy harvesting textiles for a rainy day: woven piezoelectrics based on melt-spun PVDF microfibres with a conducting core."
More about electric fabric, Electricity, Fabric, Textile, piezoelectric effect
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