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Researchers show yarn that acts as a battery

Researchers show yarn that acts as a battery
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Christian Boas

A team of researchers led by the City University of Hong Kong has developed a knitting yarn that is suitable for making clothes such as pullovers and scarves while serving as an energy store for electricity. The rechargeable fabric is waterproof as well as elastic and supple. Even cut into pieces, the yarn battery works without restrictions.

While portable gadgets such as smartwatches have long since become part of our everyday lives, science has long been confronted with the task of developing clothing that is both functional and comfortable to wear and, on the other hand, supplies power to smartphones and gadgets. Researchers headed by Chunyi Zhi, a Chinese researcher, now tackled the issue that previous attempts to develop such a material failed because Fayarn associated with alkaline manganese cells is discharging too quickly and is not rechargeable.

The team developed a zinc-ion battery that, in addition to the properties of water resistance and flexibility, also maintains the full power capacity in the longer term. The group twisted carbon nanotube fibers into a yarn and then coated a piece of the yarn with zinc to form an anode. Another piece was coated with magnesia to form a cathode; both pieces were subsequently formed into a double helix and encased in polyacrylamide electrolyte encapsulated in silicone.

In laboratory tests, the newly created yarn met the requirements with flying colors. The material could be processed, the battery power was stable and the silicone coating made it waterproof. Likewise, it turned out to be stretchy and, when cut apart, each part of the yarn was still able to power a smartwatch.

In a public test, the next demonstration of the fabric took place shortly after eight pieces were reassembled to light up an electroluminescent panel. So we’ll be curious to see when the first pieces of clothing from the new rechargeable yarn will hit the market to provide us and our equipment with sufficient energy on the go.

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