A group of researchers from North Carolina State University in the United States has created a new device that has the ability to collect energy. What characterizes it is that it is a soft material that can be stretched. In addition, it works in both dry and humid environments . It is designed to convert the mechanical movement of wind, waves, motor vibrations, or body movement into electricity for use.
Therefore, its operation is the same whether under water or on the ground. The key element that allows the device to store energy is a liquid metal alloy composed of gallium and indium.
A new device for storing energy
This alloy is wrapped in a hydrogel that is made with a polymer that has great stability and is soft embedded in water.
The ions in the water within the hydrogel contain dissolved salts that assemble on the surface of the metal and can cause a change in the material to occur. By increasing the surface area of the metal, there is more surface area that can attract electrical charge.
Then, that electricity created by the material is captured by a wire that is connected to the device.
That its design is smooth is vital for its function since it allows any movement to deform the material, which makes it very versatile to start the mechanical energy storage process.
Your Advantage: Collecting Energy Underwater
It is a very elastic material that can stretch up to five times its length in normal condition and without the risk of breakage.
Several experiments were done to check the performance of the material. It was concluded that a deformation of just a few millimeters was more than enough to produce an amount close to 0.5 mW of energy.
Although initially it may not be a large amount, the team of researchers assures that it is a measure comparable to other energy harvesting technologies that have already been developed.
However, the great difference of this new technology that has been developed compared to any other similar that has been made previously is that it can work without any problem in humid places, unlike the rest that can only do it in dry environments. .
Right now, the team is working to improve the power of the device.