Scientists have been searching for new resources to generate electricity. Recently, scientists from the Hanyang University in South Korea and the University of Texas at Dallas have led a team to create new type of yarns that has ability to generate electricity when twisted or stretched. This high-tech twistron yarns are expected to have various applications such as producing energy from temperature fluctuations or from the motion of ocean waves. The twistron yarns were featured in the issue of journal Science published on August 25.
Supercapacitor Yarns that Produces Electricity while Expansion and Contraction
The high-tech yarns are produced from carbon nanotubes having hollow cylinders of carbon. Diameter of these cylinders are about 10,000 times smaller when compared to human hair. The scientists first created light-weight and high-strength yarns. They introduced high measure of twist to make them highly elastic. These yarns needed to coat with or submerged in an ionically conducting material or electrolyte.
Co-lead author of the study and a research scientist at the NanoTech Institute, Dr. Na Li shared that these yarns are fundamentally supercapacitors. These yarns are charged by the electrolyte when they are inserted into electrolyte bath. When these yarns are stretched or twisted, their volume decreases and increases their energy by bringing electric charges closer together. Researchers have found that a yarn weighing less than a fly is able to light a small LED. This LED was powered every time the yarn was twisted or stretched. Li also used a twistron yarn to produce energy from contraction and expansion of polymer artificial muscle.