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Bus scientists make nylon fibers to generate electricity

Scientists at the University of Bath, Max Planck Polymer Institute (MPI-P), and University of Coimbra make smart nylon fibers that generate electricity from simple body movements and monitor their health with miniaturized sensors. It paved the way for manufacturing nylon clothes. Charge the device without an external power source.

The discovery is based on a study of solution-treated piezoelectric nylon led by Professor Kamal Asadi, a former group leader of MPI-P, now a professor of physics in Bath, and his former PhD student, Salim Anwar. I am.

Piezoelectricity is a phenomenon in which mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy. When you tap or distort a piezoelectric material, an electric charge is generated. If a circuit is added, it can be decharged, stored in a capacitor, for example, and then used, for example, to power a mobile phone.

When wearing piezoelectric clothing such as a shirt, even a simple movement such as shaking your arm will cause enough distortion in the shirt fibers to generate electricity.

Asadi said: “Although the demand for smart electronic textiles is increasing, finding cheap and readily available fibers for electronic materials suitable for modern clothing is a challenge for the textile industry. piezoelectric materials are a challenge for body movements, etc. Although suitable for energy harvesting from mechanical vibrations, most of these materials are ceramic, toxic and contain lead, which makes them difficult to integrate into wearable electronics and clothing. “

Scientists have been aware of the piezoelectric properties of nylon since the 1980s, and the fact that this material is lead-free and non-toxic is particularly appealing. However, silky artificial fabrics often found in cheap T-shirts and women’s stockings are “very difficult materials to handle,” Asadi said.

“The challenge is to prepare nylon fibers that retain their piezoelectric properties,” he said.

Nylon is a white powder that can be blended with other materials (natural or artificial) in the form of raw polymers to form a myriad of products, from clothing and toothbrush bristles to food packaging and automotive parts. When nylon is reduced to a particular crystalline form, it becomes piezoelectric. An established method for making these nylon crystals is to melt the nylon, cool it rapidly, and then stretch it. However, this process produces thick slabs (called “films”) that are piezoelectric but unsuitable for clothing. Nylon should be stretched into a thread for weaving into clothing or a thin film for use in wearable electronics.

Research in this area virtually ceased in the 1990s, as the challenge of producing thin piezoelectric nylon films was thought to be insurmountable.

On a whim, textile engineers Asadi and Anwar have taken a whole new approach to the production of piezoelectric nylon thin films. Instead of dissolving the nylon powder, they dissolved it in an acidic solvent. However, they found that the finished film contained solvent molecules that were immobilized inside the material, thereby interfering with the formation of the piezoelectric phase.

“We needed to find a way to remove the acid in order to be able to use nylon,” said Asadi, who started the study at the Max Planck Polymer Institute in Germany before moving to Bath in September. ..

Coincidentally, by mixing the acid solution with acetone (the chemical best known as thinner or manicure remover), the nylon is dissolved and then the acid is efficiently extracted, and the nylon film is in the piezoelectric phase.

“Acetone binds very strongly to acid molecules, so when you evaporate acetone from a nylon solution, the acid is taken in with it. All that remains is nylon in the piezoelectric crystalline phase. The next step is to remove nylon. It’s about turning it into a thread and then integrating it into the cloth, “said the scientist.

The development of piezoelectric fibers is a major step towards making electronic textiles with distinct applications in the field of wearable electronics. The goal is to integrate electronic elements such as sensors into the fabric to generate power on the move. Perhaps the electricity collected from the fibers of the piezo garment will be stored in a battery in your pocket. This battery connects to the device with a cable or wirelessly.

“In the next few years, we’ll be able to use T-shirts to power devices such as cell phones and monitor their health as they walk through the woods,” Asadi said. Says.

Fiber2Fashion News Desk (SV)

Scientists at the University of Bath, Max Planck Polymer Institute (MPI-P), and University of Coimbra make smart nylon fibers that generate electricity from simple body movements and monitor their health with miniaturized sensors. It paved the way for manufacturing nylon clothes. Charge the device without an external power source.



Bus scientists make nylon fibers to generate electricity

Source link Bus scientists make nylon fibers to generate electricity

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