A Hyper-Stretchable Energy Harvester

Flexible energy generating devices such as the stretchable elastic-composite generator could be used to power wearable devices.

AsianScientist (Apr. 21, 2015) – Researchers have developed a hyper-stretchable elastic-composite energy harvesting device. Their results have been published in Advanced Materials.

Flexible electronics should be able to stretch and conform to arbitrarily curved surfaces and moving body parts such as joints, diaphragms and tendons. Furthermore, they must be able to withstand the repeated and prolonged mechanical stresses of stretching.

Although several research groups have explored diverse stretchable electronics, they have been able to develop ultra-stretchable and fully-reversible energy conversion devices, limited by the lack of appropriate materials and electrodes.

In the present study, a team led by Professor Lee Keon Jae of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) demonstrate a simple method to obtain a high-performance and hyper-stretchable elastic-composite generator (SEG) using very long silver nanowire-based stretchable electrodes.

Their stretchable piezoelectric generator can harvest mechanical energy to produce high power output (~4 V) with large elasticity (~250 percent) and excellent durability (over 104 cycles). These noteworthy results were achieved by the non-destructive stress-relaxation ability of the unique electrodes as well as the good piezoelectricity of the device components.

The new SEG can be applied to a wide-variety of wearable energy-harvesters to transduce biomechanical-stretching energy from the body (or machines) to electrical energy.

“This exciting approach introduces an ultra-stretchable piezoelectric generator. It can open avenues for power supplies in universal wearable and biomedical applications as well as self-powered ultra-stretchable electronics,” said Lee.

The article can be found at: Jeong et al. (2015) A Hyper-Stretchable Elastic-Composite Energy Harvester.

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Source: KAIST.
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