Scientists have created the first durable, flexible cloth that harnesses human motion to generate energy. The material can also charge batteries and super capacitors without an external power source.
As reported in the journal ACS Nano, the “mechanically robust” material can even be folded — just like standard cloth. Silver, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and zinc oxide nanorods are carefully layered and patterned into the fabric, which the researchers call wearable triboelectric nanogenerator (WTNG).
When the scientists stacked four pieces of the cloth and pushed down on the material, the cloth captured the energy generated from the pressure. “A high output voltage and current of about 120 V and 65 ?A, respectively, were observed from a nanopatterned PDMS-based WTNG, while an output voltage and current of 30 V and 20 ?A were obtained by the non-nanopatterned flat PDMS-based WTNG under the same compressive force of 10 kgf,” reads the study by Sang-Woo Kim and colleagues.
The captured energy was used to power light-emitting diodes, a liquid crystal display, and a vehicle’s keyless entry remote. The cloth worked for more than 12,000 cycles.