Show Details

Yarn Electricity

August 29, 2017

A stretchy fiber could spin motion into electricity.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Power-producing yarn. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A yarn spun from carbon nanotube fibers generates electricity whenever it’s twisted or stretched. It’s called twistron harvester material, and in the journal Science, UT-Dallas material scientist Carter Haines explains that it works especially well when dipped in an electrolyte, like salty ocean water.

CARTER HAINES (UT-Dallas):

We’re very interested in seeing can you harvest large scale energy from the ocean?

And right now we know that this technology generally can do that.

HIRSHON:

The motion of waves would generate the electricity.

HAINES:

The problem is that the materials that we are using right now are very expensive to make.

HIRSHON:

So until they can economically produce miles of the material, they’re looking at smaller scale applications. For example, shirts that could produce electricity just from the motion of breathing, to power sensors or communication devices. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon