Saturday, October 1st, 2022 01:52:51

Reinvigorate Your Phones Via Droplets!

Updated: August 2, 2014 12:08 pm

Water, which is used to replenish our thirst, will now revitalise our smartphone too. Atmosphere, which is an unlimited source of power, with the help of technology, can also fulfill all our needs

Can water droplets present in the atmosphere be used as source of energy charge your smartphones? The question may give a brainstorming session but it is true. Researchers have discovered a hidden quality of water through which electricity can be produced easily. When water droplets spontaneously jump away from super-hydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process. Through this process a small amount of electricity is produced, which can be used to power electronic devices.

The new finding by postdoc Nenad Miljkovic, associate professor of mechanical engineering Evelyn Wang, and two others, shows that the system can lead devices to charge phones or other electronics by using just the humidity in the air. As a side benefit, the system could also produce clean water. The device itself could be simple consisting of a series of interleaved flat metal plates.

The initial testing leads to the discovery of power, which was contrary very small in magnitude. Just 15 picowatts, or trillionths of a watt, per square centimetre of metal plate electricity were produced during the experiment. But Miljkovic says the process could easily be tuned to achieve at least 1 microwatt, or millionth of a watt, per square centimetre. For example, the researchers have calculated that at 1 microwatt per square centimetre, a cube measuring about 50 centimetres on a side—about the size of a typical camping cooler—could be sufficient to fully charge a phone in about 12 hours. The system is based on a finding that depicts the droplets on a super-hydrophobic surface convert surface energy to kinetic energy as they merge to form larger droplets.

This sometimes causes the droplets to spontaneously jump away, enhancing heat transfer by 30 per cent relativeto other techniques. This results in generation of electric charge which can be used to power various electronic devices.

For powering remote, automated environmental sensors, even a tiny amount of energy might be sufficient and any location where dew forms would be capable of producing power for a few hours in the morning, Miljkovic says. The atmosphere is a huge source of power, and all you need is temperature difference between the air and the device allowing the device to produce condensation, just as water condenses from warm, humid air on the outside of a cold glass.

By Rohan Pal

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