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February 16th, 2010
New fibre nanogenerators could lead to electric clothes
In research that gives literal meaning to the term "power suit," University of California, Berkeley, engineers have created energy-scavenging nanofibres that could one day be woven into clothing and textiles.
These nano-sized generators have "piezoelectric" properties that allow them to convert into electricity the energy created through mechanical stress, stretches and twists.
"This technology could eventually lead to wearable 'smart clothes' that can power hand-held electronics through ordinary body movements," said Liwei Lin, UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering and head of the international research team that developed the fibre nanogenerators.
Because the nanofibres are made from organic polyvinylidene fluoride, or PVDF, they are flexible and relatively easy and cheap to manufacture.
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