Capacitive Fabrics Are Creating Batteries You Can Wear
As wearable devices become more and more numerous, they are going to need convenient new power sources so we don’t have dozens of chargers plugged in around our homes. The efforts toward pursuing a solution to this problem generally fall into two areas: means of generating, or harvesting energy on the go, and a way of storing that energy that goes beyond what we think of as batteries today.
A team at Drexel University has developed a “capacitive yarn” essentially tranforms fabric into an energy storage device by embedding functional materials into textile fibers at the molecular level. This was made possible through a process called natural fiber welding (NFW), which was developed by Paul C. Trulove at the US Naval Academy, who collaborated on the project.Project leader Dr. Kristy Jost, a materials scientist, first begain work on the capacitive yarn as a grad student. “If energy textiles are going to be realized, figuring out the best way to functionalize our yarn is the first step,” Jost said in a press release. “Natural fiber welding is proving to be highly effective in producing yarns that we can tune for particular uses, including energy storage.”