Slip-and-slide power generators

May 24, 2012

Researchers from Vestfold University College in Norway have created a simple, efficient energy harvesting device that uses the motion of a single droplet to generate electrical power.

The new technology could be used as a power source for low-power portable devices, and would be especially suitable for harvesting energy from sources such as human body motion, write the authors in a paper accepted to the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) journal .

The harvester produces power when an electrically conductive droplet (mercury or an ionic liquid) slides along a thin microfabricated material called an electret film, which has a permanent electric charge built into it during deposition.

Cyclic tilting of the device causes the droplet to accelerate across the film's surface; the maximum output voltage (and power) occurs when the sliding droplet reaches its maximum velocity at one end of the film.

A prototype of the fluidic energy harvester demonstrated a peak output at 0.18 microwatts, using a single droplet 1.2 millimeters in diameter sliding along a 2-micrometer-thick electret film.

Explore further: A new generation of storage—ring

More information: Power Generation from Conductive Droplet Sliding on Electret Film, Zhaochu Yang et al., Applied Physics Letters (2012).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Droplets that Roll Uphill

Sep 24, 2007

A recent experiment conducted by physicists at University of Bristol in the United Kingdom has shown that liquid drops can defy gravity. Droplets of liquid on an inclined plate that is shaken up and down can ...

Raiders of the lost amp

Jul 05, 2011

Energy harvesting is a process that captures energy that would otherwise be lost as heat, light, sound, vibration or motion. It can use this captured energy to improve the efficiency of existing systems or even to power new ...

Recommended for you

A new generation of storage—ring

4 hours ago

A bright synchrotron source that emits over a wide part of the electromagnetic spectrum from the infrared to hard X-rays is currently being built in Lund, Sweden. The MAX IV facility presents a range of technical ...

Universe may face a darker future

8 hours ago

New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our Universe might be.

High-intensity sound waves may aid regenerative medicine

Oct 30, 2014

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a way to use sound to create cellular scaffolding for tissue engineering, a unique approach that could help overcome one of regenerative medicine's ...

Formula could shed light on global climate change

Oct 30, 2014

Wright State University researchers have discovered a formula that accurately predicts the rate at which soil develops from the surface to the underlying rock, a breakthrough that could answer questions about ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

A_Paradox
not rated yet May 26, 2012
Never mind human body motion, surely this idea would work well using energy form ocean waves.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.