Harnessing The Power Of Movement

Aron Schatz
February 14, 2008

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Piezoelectric is a great property of some materials. Just think, soon you'll be going about your daily life and charging your cell phone at the same time. Yeah, by your shirt!


In 2007 Zhong Lin Wang, a materials scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US, developed a generator composed of a forest of piezoelectric zinc oxide nanowires topped by a flat conductive plate. As the plate is pushed down, the wires bend, producing a voltage that induces current to flow into the plate. Now Wang has turned this idea into an electricity-generating thread, which he plans to weave into a fabric. His team figured out how to grow the nanowires on a strand of Kevlar fibre instead of a flat surface, so that the wires stick out from the fibre like the bristles on a pipe-cleaner.


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