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Triboelectric Generator Produces Electricity ... Could Touch Screens Generating Own Electricity?

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posted on Jul, 9 2012 @ 06:25 PM
Triboelectric Generator Produces Electricity by Harnessing Friction Between Surfaces: Could Touch Screens Generating Own Electricity?

ScienceDaily (July 9, 2012) — Researchers have discovered yet another way to harvest small amounts of electricity from motion in the world around us -- this time by capturing the electrical charge produced when two different kinds of plastic materials rub against one another. Based on flexible polymer materials, this "triboelectric" generator could provide alternating current (AC) from activities such as walking.

Shaweet! Just imagine the applications... we're talking floors in malls, airports, touch screens, steering wheels, the bottom of shoes... and so on.

The triboelectric generator could supplement power produced by nanogenerators that use the piezoelectric effect to create current from the flexing of zinc oxide nanowires. And because these triboelectric generators can be made nearly transparent, they could offer a new way to produce active sensors that might replace technology now used for touch-sensitive device displays.

"The fact that an electric charge can be produced through this principle is well known," said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the School of Materials Science & Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "What we have introduced is a gap separation technique that produces a voltage drop, which leads to a current flow, allowing the charge to be used. This generator can convert random mechanical energy from our environment into electric energy."

I'm actually a bit surprised that it has taken this long for this technology to be developed, but it's here, and I would suggest... here to stay. "Honey, the power is out!"... "Well get off your *** and go rub the lamp!" lol, that might be a stretch... but just maybe.

Because the devices can be made approximately 75 percent transparent, they could potentially be used in touch screens to replace existing sensors. "Transparent generators can be fabricated on virtually any surface," said Wang. "This technique could be used to create very sensitive transparent sensors that would not require power from a device's battery."

While smooth surfaces rubbing together do generate charge, Wang and his research team have increased the current production by using micro-patterned surfaces. They studied three different types of surface patterning -- lines, cubes and pyramids -- and found that placing pyramid shapes on one of the rubbing surfaces generated the most electrical current: as much as 18 volts at about 0.13 microamps per square centimeter.

Pyramid shapes huh... someone must have been watching "Revelations of the Pyramids", joking of course. Although, I'd suggest that there is probably some interesting correlation between the principals of the design.

Anyways... just thought I'd post this, because people always love to hear about up and coming energy technologies. I'm not seeing some government cover-up, what's up with that? Although, this won't produce anywhere near the energy required to replace oil, coal, and natural gas I suppose...


posted on Jul, 9 2012 @ 06:32 PM
Damn you active mind!

Some HIGHLY theoretical applications...

Screw wind farms, solar(ok, maybe not screw solar) and all that other fun stuff...

Think about the friction taking place in the movement of water, dip sheets of this stuff in rivers and BAM energy.

Line the exteriors of large buildings, it rains... BAM energy.

Coat the exteriors of vehicles, it rains, or a bug hits the car... BAM energy

Ok... that's enough for now, I think people know where I'm going with this. If applicable, and efficient... I'm lining every single exterior of everything that comes in contact with nature with this stuff!

edit on 9-7-2012 by FractalChaos13242017 because: addd

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 02:10 AM


Nice idea either way.

ETA: Answered my own question:

"The entire preparation process is simple and low cost, making it possible to be scaled up for large scale production and practical applications," Wang said.

edit on 10-7-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 10 2012 @ 03:36 AM
Well, the wind farm thing might be a good idea - there's a class of air movers called "wigglers" that use piezoelectric films much like this to blow air by emulating a sort of sidewinder motion. They're pretty efficient, which says you could likely put hundreds of these new material wigglers on a plate and use it instead of a windmill, and at lower air flow rates too.

But a lot of this sort of energy is just very low quality. And it doesn't really come from nowhere, if you put it everywhere you walk, for instance, there's not a lot of power and it comes from YOU, and at relatively low efficiency at that. So you just eat more to cover for it. Same with putting it on a road - you're just taking it from the car.

If you could put it in places so that it captures natural energy, streams, wind or whatnot, it would be a net positive, but it's going to be interfering with nature too.

edit to add: There's just something so very wrong about a guy named Dr Wang harnessing the frictional energy between two wet surfaces with a plastic film. Or my mind's just not right at 0330.
edit on 10-7-2012 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)


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