Let's Get A Charge Out Of This

Cell phone need charging? Well, look at your nice new T-shirt and suggest let’s get a charge out of this. Plug it in and you would be able to get back to your proper function of keeping the twittering classes fully informed. It’s coming soon in a store near you – not this year, but soon.

Bao and Li of U of S Carolina have made a great start according to their paper in Advanced Materials, which was picked up by the BBC (1,2). They have made bits of a T-shirt into a super capacitor, which can be charged, depleted and recharged again, again and again…

The first step is a rather unconventional wash and dry cycle. They cwashed the cotton with salt water, sodium fluoride not chloride (hard on the hands so wear gloves) and then went through a very fierce drying cycle. Firstly it was pre-dried at 120 Celsius and then at ~900 Celsius in an Argon gas stream to prevent it from vanishing in a puff of smoke. A final rinse in clean water and a good dry (120C again) and their white cotton was now a nice black piece of fabric.

No dyes nor cotton any longer, but activated carbon, all ready to be decorated. Little manganese dioxide nano-flowers were electrochemically deposited all over using deposition from a manganese acetate solution. A nice wash and dry and their new capacitor was all ready to go.

The fabric is flexible, mechanically stable and the capacity for being a great super capacitor. You might not want to sweat too much or go out in the rain without a coat, but those would be a minor disadvantage compared to hours of longer twittering time that would become available. The cache´ of asking strangers if they like the nano-floral decoration on your cell phone charger would be a bonus.

  1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201200246/full
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18781878

One Response so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply