Self-charging stretchable fabric for wearables: Page 2 of 2

May 14, 2020 //By Julien Happich
stretchable fabric spandex
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and from the Georgia Institute of Technology have designed a stretchable fabric that incorporates not only microsupercapacitors (MSCs) but also triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) so it can charge itself before powering smart garments.

The working mechanism of the coplanar TENG.

Contact electrification occurs at the PDMS−polyester interfaces, generating net negative charges in the PDMS and positive charges in the polyester; similarly, the polyester fabrics will be negatively charged and the Ni-coated fabrics will be positively charged at the polyester−Ni interfaces. When the polyester fabric is gradually separating away from the TENG textile, under movement or stretching, the unbalanced positive charges in the Ni fabric flow through the external circuit to reach the other Ni-textile electrodes, so as to screen the static charges in the PDMS (see fig. 2 (ii)). The current flow stops when all of the static charges are screened and equilibrium is achieved (fig. 2 (iii)). If the counter polyester textile is approaching back to contact the TENG textile, a reversed current flow in the external circuit is generated until local charge equilibrium is achieved again (fig. 2 (iv)). The repeated touching separating motions are then converted into pulsed alternative current (AC).

The fabric in-plane MSC with reduced graphene oxides as active materials reached a maximum areal capacitance of 50.6mF cm−2 at 0.01V s−1 and showed no significant degradation at 50% of tensile strain. The stretchable fabric-based TENG was able to output a 49V open-circuit voltage and 94.5mW m−2 peak power density. Because both the MSCs and the TENGs in the stretchable self-charging power textile can be designed coplanar with a one-batch resist-dyeing fabrication process, this approach is compatible with conventional textile processing. The authors anticipate that such self-charging power textiles could be used to power small electronics intermittently, without extra recharging steps.

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