We charge Lumia with the power of sound

    Imagine that the chants of fans during a football match or, for example, the chaos of sounds at a huge music festival can serve a good purpose - to recharge the charge of your mobile device.

    After our last pilot project, in which we were able to recharge the smartphone with lightning, we decided to go ahead and conquer the sound. Read about what came of it in our Friday post.

    In our new experiment, we teamed up with Doctors of Sciences Joe Briscoe and Steve Dunnfrom Queen Mary of the University of London (yes, these are British scientists, no, they are real) in order to create a prototype mobile nanogenerator that uses background noise (traffic sound, music or our own voices) to charge mobile devices.

    We had a lot of work to do with materials that are a thousand times thinner than ordinary human hair. It’s not a secret for many that with such sizes they can have rather unusual properties - for example, change color, strength or become more chemically active. Nanomaterials are also more suitable for converting the energy of motion or vibration into electricity - and this is exactly the quality that we need when working with sound.

    That is why zinc oxide is the main component of our nanogenerator - a piezoelectric material having a special crystalline structure, the tension or compression of which leads to the appearance of an electric voltage.

    Many of you are familiar with this property - it is used in flintless lighters (pressing a button with a piezoelectric element leads to the creation of a spark that ignites the gas). We used the same principle, but only to create a device that can charge the phone’s battery.

    It should be noted that we turned to Briscoe and Dann not by chance - they have extensive expertise in the field of nanomaterials and their application in the energy sector, and over the past few years they have been actively studying the properties of zinc oxide. We were so inspired by their ideas that we could not miss the chance to conduct a joint experiment.

    As part of the project, nanorods or nanowires were created from zinc oxide, which subsequently could be applied to almost any surface. Upon deformation or bending of such a surface, the nanorods generate a high voltage. Greater sensitivity will allow such plates to respond to vibrations from any sound waves, even from the voice. It only remained to enclose nanotubes in one electric circuit, and we were ready to get a new type of chargers.

    To create a prototype nanogenerator, the team has developed a special technical process that allows you to spray a layer of nanotubes of zinc oxide on a plastic surface. Then, the resulting sheet was heated to 90 ° Celsius so that the nanorods were evenly distributed over the surface.

    Also, when working on a nanogenerator, Joe and Steve, as an alternative to gold conductors, proposed a method that uses cheap aluminum foil.

    As a result of the experiment, we got a device that can generate up to 5 volts, which is quite enough to recharge the smartphone. Another advantage is its size: in length and width it is equal to our smartphone Lumia 925.

    Of course, at the moment this is only a prototype, but he was able to bring the future a little closer, in which we do not have to look for a charger to recharge our smartphone. It will be enough to yell at him.

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