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New Nanotech May Provide Power Storage in Cables, Clothes

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Artist's conception of wearable energy storage.

A new method of transmitting and storing electricity could lead to clothing fibers being able to hold store enough power to support large tasks.


University of Central Florida (UCF) researchers have developed a method to transmit and store electricity in a single lightweight copper wire.

Although copper wires are a good starting point, as the technology improves special fibers could be developed with nanostructures to conduct and store energy, says UCF professor Jayan Thomas. He says the technology could lead to smaller electronic devices because it could make batteries obsolete.

The researchers placed a sheath over a single copper wire consisting of nanowhiskers that were grown on the outer surface of the wire. The whiskers were then treated with a special alloy, which created an electrode. The researchers created a second electrode by adding a thin plastic sheet around the whiskers and wrapping it around using a metal sheath. Finally, the layers were glued together with a special gel, and because of the insulation, the inner copper wire retains its ability to channel energy, while the layers around the wire independently store energy.

Thomas notes more work needs to be done, but he says the technology should be transferable to other types of materials, which could lead to clothing fibers being able to hold enough power for large tasks.

From UCF Today
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