By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk
One of the strangest ways to harvest energy to power small devices has come from engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Xudong Wang, postdoctoral Researcher Chengliang Sun and graduate student Jian Shi have created a plastic microbelt that vibrates when passed by low-speed airflow such as human respiration.
By making the belt of a piezoelectric material such as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), an electric charge accumulates in response to applied mechanical stress, and the researchers engineered PVDF to generate sufficient electrical energy from respiration to operate small electronic devices.
|Graduate Student Jian Shi and Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Xudong Wang demonstrate a material that could be used to capture energy from respiration|
|The microbelt generator|