Batteries are what we currently use to hold charge and power up our portable devices, but have you ever noticed how bulky they are and in fact, most of the space within gadgets is taken by the battery? How will it affect if your gadgets if the batteries were removed and instead a peculiar kind of internal wiring was incorporated that was able to store power in itself? The idea sure does sound promising, but is it possible? That is what a team of nanotechnology researchers at the University of Central Florida in Orlando are working to find out.
Professor Jayan Thoman and Ph.D. student Zenan Yu have come up with a way that involves covering copper wires with an alloy nano-whiskers sheath, which works as an electrode that is required to create a super-capacitor. However, as most of you know; we need two electrodes and the second electrode comes in the shape of a nano-whiskers tube along with a layer made of plastic which is placed between the two sheaths in order to complete the capacitor. The copper core that is located on the inside of the wire is still able to conduct electricity with an added advantage; it can store energy as well.
According to Dr. Thomas, reduction in weight and bulk will prove quite beneficial when it comes to electric cars and specifically speaking, space vehicles (less weight, less power required and therefore increased fuel efficiency). The same technology can be incorporated into smartphones and gadgets as well after it has been scaled down. Up till now, the team was working with electrical wires but is hopeful that the same approach can be used for fabric fibres as well, so get ready for clothing that generates power in future.
What needs to be tested, as per us, is for how long can the energy be stored and whether this capacity decreases over time as this battery alternative undergoes charging and discharging cycles.