Clothes that produce power. Who ever thought?
Fabric may make the first real power suit
The fibres, covered with 'hairs' of zinc oxide, can be wired up for power.The fibres, covered with 'hairs' of zinc oxide, can be wired up for power.Z.L. Wang and X.D. Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Mobile phone battery running out mid-conversation? One day you might be able to make a few vigorous arm movements while wearing a nanowire electricity-generating shirt to keep the battery going.
This is power-dressing in the real sense: nothing to do with shoulder pads or 1980s office dramas. Zhong Lin Wang and his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have made a yarn out of nanofibres that produce charge when they are rubbed against one another. Materials woven from these yarns could be used for self-powering clothes, shoes or biological implants such as pacemakers.
Wang took standard synthetic Kevlar fibres and coated them with tetraethoxysilane, onto which they stuck a layer of zinc oxide. Crystals of zinc oxide grew outwards, forming crystalline rods protruding from the fibres like the hairs on a brush. The power comes from the zinc oxide, which is piezoelectric: when mechanical stress -- such as bending, crushing or stretching -- is applied to a piezoelectric material, it produces a voltage.