Samsung Captures The Mechanical Energy Of Slow Motion

Posted: Dec 23 2016, 4:09pm CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Samsung Captures the Mechanical Energy of Slow Motion
This is the Energy Harvesting PN Junction. Credit: Qing Wang, Penn State
  • Samsung, designed a mechanical energy transducer that catches the energy of slow motion action sequences

A new technique has been invented that catches the energy of slow motion action sequences.

A new technique in energy capturing could save up on the potential that is frittered away due to its low frequency. This energy could serve to fuel next generation electronic gizmos and gadgets.

The scheme was funded by Samsung. A mechanical energy transducer that was based on agile, natural, ionic diodes was employed for the task at hand. Any and all energy in the environment, be it from wind, oceanic waves or human movements, can be harvested this way.

Contraptions that convert mechanical motion into electric energy are utilized to fuel wearables, biomedical stuff and the IoT (Internet of Things). The most banal of these devices works through piezoelectricity. It hovers at high frequencies greater than 10 vibes per second.

At lower frequencies though, it fails badly. Yet with this scheme, even such movements that are low frequency can be harvested into producing electricity. It is actually a polymer p-n junction device.

"Our concept is to specifically design a way to turn low-frequency motion, such as human movement or ocean waves, into electricity," said Qing Wang, professor of materials science and engineering, Penn State. "That's why we came up with this organic polymer p-n junction device."

Termed an ionic diode, the device consists of two nanocomposite electrodes. They have oppositely charges ions. These are separated by a polycarbonate interface.

The electrodes are a matrix that is chock-a-block with carbon nanotubes. This in turn is dipped in ionic liquids. The conductance and mechanical strength is thus doubled and tripled.

On the application of a mechanical force, the ions undergo diffusion. A direct current is thus generated. This could have many applications. In smartphones, mechanical force involved in touching the screen could be converted to electricity.

This is then stored in a battery. Other human movements could power a laptop or tablet. Even wearable devices could be charged this way. Since the device is a polymer, it shows agility and featherweight characteristics.

It can also provide 40% of the energy needed from the battery in a smartphone. Thus the complete and exclusive dependence on batteries could be avoided. The power generation of this device can match any piezoelectric contraption. In fact, at present, no other device can outdo this one.

"Because the device is a polymer, it is both flexible and lightweight," Wang said. "When incorporated into a next-generation smart phone, we hope to provide 40 percent of the energy required of the battery. With less demand on the battery, the safety issue should be resolved."

According to the authors of "Flexible Ionic Devices for Low-Frequency Mechanical Energy Harvesting" published online in the journal Advanced Energy Materials, "The peak power density of our device is in general larger than or comparable to those of piezoelectric generators operated at their most efficient frequencies."

"Right now, at low frequencies, no other device can outperform this one," said Wang. "That's why I think this concept is exciting."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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