Acquired Electronics360

Power Semiconductors

Flexible Microsupercapacitors to Be Woven Into Clothing as Power Source

18 December 2015

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed flexible wire-shaped microsupercapacitors that can be woven into clothing items like jackets, shirts and dresses.

The team developed the capacitors, which charge and release energy much faster than batteries, in an attempt to create a less conspicuous power source.

"The area of clothing is fixed, so to generate the power density needed in a small area, we grew radially-aligned titanium oxide nanotubes on a titanium wire used as the main electrode," says Liming Dai, the Kent Hale Smith Professor of Macromolecular Science and Engineering. "By increasing the surface area of the electrode, you increase the capacitance."

How it works

The team’s supercapacitor includes a modified titanium wire coated with a solid electrolyte made of polyvinyl alcohol and phosphoric acid. The wire is wrapped with either yarn or a sheet made of aligned carbon nanotubes, which acts as the second electrode. The titanium oxide nanotubes, which are semiconducting, separate the two active portions of the electrodes, preventing a short circuit.

The wire-shaped microsupercapacitor woven into a white textile without bending. (Image Credit: CWRU/ Science Direct)The wire-shaped microsupercapacitor woven into a white textile without bending. (Image Credit: CWRU/ Science Direct)In testing, the microsupercapacitor retained at least 80% of its capacitance after 1,000 charge-discharge cycles. According to the researchers, the wire-shaped capacitors can be connected in series or parallel to raise voltage or current.

When it came to flexibility, the capacitors could bend up to 180°, hundreds of times while maintaining performance.

"They're very flexible, so they can be integrated into fabric or textile materials," says Dai. "They can be a wearable, flexible power source for wearable electronics and also for self-powered biosensors or other biomedical devices, particularly for applications inside the body."

Dai's team is now working on weaving the wire-like capacitors into fabrics and will then incorporate them into wearable devices.



Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Advertisement
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter
Advertisement

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date Event Location
26-28 Feb 2018 Nashville, TN
04-08 Mar 2018 San Antonio, Texas
09-10 Apr 2018 Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA
23-27 Apr 2018 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
10 May 2018 Pier 94
Find Free Electronics Datasheets
Advertisement