Walking on these wooden floors can power light bulbs

2021-11-29 04:43:08 By : Ms. JingShuang Cai

Over the years, scientists have developed various unexpected ways of generating electricity, some of which include:

Now, researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Chongqing University in China, and Northwestern University in Illinois are adding another unexpected energy source to the list: wood floors.

In order to generate electricity from wooden floors through our footsteps, researchers have developed an energy harvesting device called a nanogenerator, which combines wood, silicone and embedded nanocrystals. According to research published on Matter, the resulting device can generate enough energy to power LED bulbs and gadgets.

The team first sandwiched two pieces of functionalized wood between electrodes to convert the wood into a nano generator. When walking, the wood chips are charged due to contact and separation; a phenomenon called the triboelectric effect. As a result, electrons can be transferred from one object to another, thereby generating electricity.

However, there is a problem: wood has no natural tendency to gain or lose electrons, which limits its potential for power generation. “Wood is basically friction-neutral. This means that there is no real tendency for wood to gain or lose electrons. Therefore, the challenge is to make wood that can attract and lose electrons,” explains Guido Panzarasa, senior author of the study.

In order to solve this problem, the researchers coated a piece of wood with a layer of silica gel, which eagerly gains electrons when contacted, while the other piece of wood is embedded with metal ions and organic molecules, thereby increasing its loss of electrons. trend. Finally, before the team determined the most effective option-radial cutting of spruce, various types of wood cut in different directions were tested.

The team claims that this treatment makes their wood power generation efficiency 80 times higher than that of natural wood, and provides a stable output under a stable pressure of more than 1,500 cycles. When applied to an A4 paper-sized floor, this material can generate enough electricity to power household LED lights, calculators and other small electronic devices.

During the test, when an adult walked on the wooden floor prototype, it successfully lit a light bulb, turning their feet into electricity. Although this is exciting news, it should be pointed out that this is a proof of concept, and further work is needed before the system can be expanded for industrial use.

Our focus is to show the possibility of using relatively environmentally friendly procedures to modify wood to make it triboelectric. Spruce is cheap and easy to obtain, and has good mechanical properties. The functionalization method is very simple and can be extended on the industrial level. This is just an engineering issue.

In addition, the newly developed nano generator maintains the natural warm appearance and durability of wooden floors, making it an attractive choice for fashion-conscious smart building interior designers. Next, Panzarasa and his team will improve their wood treatment to make it more environmentally friendly and easier to implement when they are committed to commercial applications.

The ultimate goal is to understand the potential of wood, surpass the known potential, and give wood new characteristics for future sustainable smart buildings.

Researchers envision these wood nanogenerators as green energy sources in future sustainable smart buildings, helping to mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide throughout their life cycle.