A new fabric developed at Georgia Institute of Technology uses sunlight and motion to harvest energy. Combining the two types of electricity generation into one textile paves the way for creating garments that could provide their own source of energy to power devices such as smartphones or global positioning systems.
“This hybrid power textile presents a novel solution to charging devices in the field from something as simple as the wind blowing on a sunny day,” said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering.
To make the fabric, Wang’s team used a commercial textile machine to weave together solar cells, constructed from lightweight polymer fibers, with fiber-based triboelectric nanogenerators.
Triboelectric nanogenerators use a combination of the triboelectric effect and electrostatic induction to generate small amount of electrical power from mechanical motion such as rotation, sliding or vibration.
Wang envisions that the new fabric, which is 320 micrometers thick woven together with strands of wool, could be integrated into tents, curtains, or wearable garments.
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