Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electricity from the nose: Engineers make power from human respiration

Date:
October 8, 2011
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Engineering
Summary:
The same piezoelectric effect that ignites your gas grill with the push of a button could one day power sensors in your body via the respiration in your nose.

Graduate Student Jian Shi and Materials Science and Engineering Professor Xudong Wang demonstrate a material that could be used to capture energy from respiration.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Engineering

The same piezoelectric effect that ignites your gas grill with the push of a button could one day power sensors in your body via the respiration in your nose.

Writing in the September issue of the journal Energy and Environmental Science, Materials Science and Engineering Professor Xudong Wang, postdoctoral Researcher Chengliang Sun and graduate student Jian Shi report creating a plastic microbelt that vibrates when passed by low-speed airflow such as human respiration.

In certain materials, such as the polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) used by Wang's team, an electric charge accumulates in response to applied mechanical stress. This is known as the piezoelectric effect. The researchers engineered PVDF to generate sufficient electrical energy from respiration to operate small electronic devices.

"Basically, we are harvesting mechanical energy from biological systems. The airflow of normal human respiration is typically below about two meters per second," says Wang. "We calculated that if we could make this material thin enough, small vibrations could produce a microwatt of electrical energy that could be useful for sensors or other devices implanted in the face."

Researchers are taking advantage of advances in nanotechnology and miniaturized electronics to develop a host of biomedical devices that could monitor blood glucose for diabetics or keep a pacemaker battery charged so that it would not need replacing. What's needed to run these tiny devices is a miniscule power supply. Waste energy in the form or blood flow, motion, heat, or in this case respiration, offers a consistent source of power.

Wang's team used an ion-etching process to carefully thin material while preserving its piezoelectric properties. With improvements, he believes the thickness can be controlled down to the submicron level. Because PVDF is biocompatible, he says the development represents a significant advance toward creating a practical micro-scale device for harvesting energy from respiration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Engineering. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chengliang Sun, Jian Shi, Dylan J. Bayerl, Xudong Wang. PVDF microbelts for harvesting energy from respiration. Energy & Environmental Science, 2011; DOI: 10.1039/C1EE02241E

Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Engineering. "Electricity from the nose: Engineers make power from human respiration." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003234642.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Engineering. (2011, October 8). Electricity from the nose: Engineers make power from human respiration. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003234642.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Engineering. "Electricity from the nose: Engineers make power from human respiration." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003234642.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Airlines Swanky New Plane

China Airlines Swanky New Plane

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) China Airlines debuted their new Boeing 777, and it's more like a swanky hotel bar than an airplane. Enjoy high-tea, a coffee bar, and a full service bar with cocktails and spirits, and lie-flat in your reclining seats. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins