Just when you thought that engineers have run out of ideas for harvesting power from mundane human activity, a scientist from Texas A&M invents a piezoelectric material that can turn sound waves into electricity. His idea? Stick it in a cell phone.
Piezoelectric materials generate an electric voltage when subjected to some sort of mechanical stress. When you read about harvesting energy from footsteps or dancing, for example, piezoelectrics are involved. Whatâ€™s novel about this application is that it exploits nanoscale piezoelectric properties. When such a material is precisely between 20 and 23 nanometers thick, it can capture 100% more energy.
Such a size makes this material perfect to stick into a cell phone. The sound waves emitted by the phone (as well as, presumably, those emitted by its owner) exert stress on the material, which in turn generates electricity. Obviously, energy canâ€™t be generated from nowhere. But if it can simply be absorbed from the environment, you could have â€“ for all intents and purposes â€“ a self-charging device.
Via Science Daily
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