Dreams of charging our phones with the energy in our bodies may seem remote, but we are getting closer. Scientists from the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati have a five-year deal with the Air Force Research Laboratory to solve an enigma. Why, they ask, should a soldier’s load comprise one-third batteries? Why, when their clothes may power their devices with little weight added, if any at all.
Clothes May Power Devices with Carbon Nanotubes
Scientists are getting smarter at making carbon nanotubes. They believe these will replace copper wire in cars and planes, reduce weight, and improve fuel efficiency. They speak of a carbon revolution coming. Because carbon can conduct electricity like nothing else.
Carbon could replace polyester and other synthetic fibers, they believe. A graduate student at University of Cincinnati is investigating carbon nanotube applications at a U.S. Airforce laboratory. He has found a way to grow them through chemical vapor deposition. “Each particle has a nucleation point. Colloquially, we can call it a seed,” he explains.
Our Clothes May Power our Devices But is This Safe?
A carbon nanotube is exactly like a textile, another team member reveals. “We can assemble them like machine thread. And use them in applications ranging from sensors to track heavy metals in water, or energy storage devices including super capacitors and batteries.”
However, there is a hurdle to overcome. The university cautions carbon nanotubes in medical devices can cause lung damage similar to asbestos during high or acute exposure. We may therefore have to wait a little longer before our clothes may power our phones while at the gym. Nonetheless, this is an exciting development.
Just imagine if those Thai boys trapped deep down in that cave had torches powered by their clothes.Then they would not have had to wait in darkness for rescue to arrive, when they were saved by so many miraculous events.
Preview Image: Carbon Nanotube Structure (Depiction)