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Scientists Develop Flexible Energy-Harvesting Rubber Sheets

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On January 28, 2010 @ 12:40 pm In green gadgets,Kinetic Energy,Renewable Energy | 2 Comments

sustainable design, green design, kinetic energy, renewable energy, alternative energy, piezoelectric ribbon, energy harvesting chip, piezoelectrics, rubber sheets

Piezoelectric energy [1] is nothing new, but researchers at Princeton University [2] have developed a new type of electricity-harvesting rubber sheet [3] that has the potential to change the way we power electronic devices. The flexible rubber sheets are imbued with piezoelectric ribbons and are durable, versatile, and open up exciting new applications for harvesting kinetic energy [4].

sustainable design, green design, kinetic energy, renewable energy, alternative energy, piezoelectric ribbon, energy harvesting chip, piezoelectrics, rubber sheets

The so-called “piezoelectric [5] ribbons” are made up of organic lead zirconate titanate [6] nanoribbons placed on silicone rubber sheets. When the sheets flex, they generate electricity by turning mechanical energy into electrical energy. As you might imagine, there are unlimited applications for the technology — shoes that harvest energy from movement to power gadgets, movement-powered microsurgical devices, and even pacemakers that are lined with the material instead of relying on traditional batteries are just a few examples of potential uses.

No word on when the piezoelectric ribbons will be ready for prime-time, but the researchers involved are already trying to scale up the rubber device to make it commercially viable. Once that happens, there’s no telling how many gadgets powered by traditional batteries can switch over to the long-lasting, energy generating rubber sheets.

+ Nano Letters [3]

Via PhysOrg [7]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/scientist-develop-flexible-energy-harvesting-rubber-sheets/

URLs in this post:

[1] Piezoelectric energy: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/12/11/tokyo-subway-stations-get-piezoelectric-floors/

[2] Princeton University: http://www.princeton.edu/main/

[3] electricity-harvesting rubber sheet: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl903377u

[4] kinetic energy: http://www.inhabitat.com/energy/kineticenergy/

[5] piezoelectric: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/04/14/powerleap-harnesses-energy-from-foot-steps/

[6] lead zirconate titanate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_zirconate_titanate

[7] PhysOrg: http://www.physorg.com/news183832835.html

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