Wearable fibers generate and store energy to power your clothes.

By Oliver Townsend May 24, 2024
Powered wearable fibers can help clothes generate, store energy.jpegOrginal image from: https://interestingengineering.com/innovation/powered-wearable-fibers-johns-hopkins

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) have developed innovative battery and solar-powered fibers that can be woven into clothing, allowing them to generate and store electrical energy. This groundbreaking technology addresses the scalability and performance limitations typically associated with fiber batteries, opening up new possibilities for high-performance wearable electronics. By utilizing a stacked design similar to traditional pouch cells, these fiber batteries are engineered to be as narrow as 650–700 µm, providing a solution for smaller, reusable, durable, and stretchable power sources.

Revolutionizing Wearable Electronics

The development of poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) separators has been instrumental in this progress, enabling the lamination of conventional battery electrodes using a heated rolling press. The resulting fiber batteries have shown impressive energy density, storing up to 0.61 milliwatt-hours of energy per centimeter of fiber length. What sets these fiber batteries apart is their roll-to-roll production process, which optimizes active materials, reduces inactive materials, and ensures compatibility with standard battery industry equipment.

Scalable Solar-Powered Fibers

On the other hand, the solar-powered fibers were created by adapting conventional solar cell technology onto flexible circuit boards, encapsulating them in a polymer for integration into textiles. Despite their flexibility, these fibers offer high performance and durability, even after extensive bending and exposure to light. This new innovation opens doors for various applications such as health monitoring, warming clothing, and powering soldiers’ equipment, showcasing the versatility and potential impact of wearable electronics.

Enhancing Energy Efficiency

Both the battery and solar-powered fibers represent a significant advancement in energy storage and generation for wearable electronics. By combining cutting-edge technology with practical applications, researchers have paved the way for a new era of high-performance textile electronics that can revolutionize the way we interact with our clothing and accessories. The seamless integration of these fibers into everyday wearables could transform the fashion and technology industries, offering a glimpse into a future where our clothes not only look good but also serve a functional purpose.

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