Thursday, 28 Jan, 2010 Technology

Latest Invention: Rubber Sheets that Generate Electricity to Power Cell Phones


The latest invention of engineers at Princeton University represents special rubber films that are able to produce electricity. Using these films it would be possible to power different portable devices such as players and cell phones by simply making body movements like walking or breathing.

The latest invention features ceramic nanoribbons fixed onto silicon rubber sheets. Energy is produced when the new material is flexed. It can easily convert mechanical energy into electrical one. For example, these rubber sheets can be fixed on shoes, thus the wearer of such shoes will be able to power gadgets while walking or running. If placed against the lungs, the sheets take advantage of breathing motions to generate energy.

It is worth mentioning that scientists from Princeton University are the first who managed to successfully mix silicone and nanoribbons of lead zirconate titanate (PZT). The latter is a ceramic material able to produce energy whenever pressure is applied to it. The PZT is considered to be the most efficient among all known piezoelectric materials. It can convert about 80 percent of the mechanical power into electricity.

The rubber sheets also work the opposite way - whenever electricity is applied, they flex. With their latest invention, researchers look forward to using the sheets in a number of other applications, such as, for instance, creating microsurgical devices. More information is available here.

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