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The Future of Electromagnetics


flexible material that generates electricity when stressed

Empa, a materials science research facility located in the UK just announced that they have developed a flexible material that generates electricity when it is stressed. This type of technology is ground breaking and it can be used to advance society in unimaginable ways. The material is thin, organic and extremely flexible, which makes it different from any other type of power plant or sensor.


The film generates electricity when it is stretched or compressed, making it extremely useful to use on virtually anything. The film could be used for clothing’s, remotes, control buttons, robots, or even inside the human body. Piezoelectricity, electricity resulting from pressure and latent heat is what was used to make this product work. The internal polarization changes when it is stressed, creating the electric impulses.


The Piezoelectric effect, for a long time, was only known to work for crystals. After thousands of hours of research, the Empa team made it possible for elastomers to have piezoelectric properties. The product is extremely difficult to create. The material contains polar nanoparticles and a silicone prototype. These pieces must be molded together to start conveying electrical impulses, and even once they are connected they nonparticals are still randomly oriented, which is why the part needs to become polarized. To polarize the part, Empa must create and electric field.


The electric field is created by heating the glass transition of temperature to a rubbery state and then cooling it to room temperature. This invention creates unlimited opportunities in the world of flexible electrodes. These tiny films could be used to measure human energy just by wearing a t-shirt, they could restart a pacemaker, they could even make the skin of an interactive robot.


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