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Excerpt from article about Printed 2-D Piezoelectric Materials – (worth reading all of it)
This simple, industry-compatible procedure to print large surface area 2D piezoelectric films onto any substrate offers tremendous opportunities for the development of piezo-sensors and energy harvesters.
These are materials that can convert applied mechanical force or strain into electrical energy. Such materials form the basis of sound and pressure sensors, embedded devices that are powered by vibration or bending, and even the simple ‘piezo’ lighter used for gas BBQs and stovetops.
Piezoelectric materials can also take advantage of the small voltages generated by tiny mechanical displacement, vibration, bending or stretching to power miniaturised devices.
THE MATERIAL: GALLIUM PHOSPHATE (GaPO4)
Gallium phosphate is a quartz-like crystal used in piezoelectric applications such as pressure sensors since the late 1980s, and particularly valued in high-temperature applications. Because it does not naturally crystallise in a stratified structure and hence cannot be exfoliated using conventional methods, its use to date has been limited to applications that rely on carving the crystal from its bulk.
New wood-metal hybrid for lightweight construction
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In the case of HoMe foam, the bending strength of the hybrid is even greater than that of its two components.
Another advantage is that, unlike wood foam, metal sponge can conduct electricity.
Combining metal sponge and wood foam creates a lightweight hybrid material with a higher functionality, one that can be used for components that provide reinforcement and absorb sound. The material is thus suitable for use in the automotive industry, for example, as reinforcing acoustic mats in engine compartments or as floor plates. Other applications are conceivable too.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-wood-metal-hybrid-lightweight.html#jCp
Research team increases adhesiveness of silicone using the example of beetles
A research team from Kiel University (CAU) has now succeeded in boosting the adhesive effect of a silicone material significantly. To do so, they combined two methods: First, they structured the surface on the micro scale based on the example of beetle feet, and thereafter treated it with plasma. In addition, they found out that the adhesiveness of the structured material changes drastically if it is bent to varying degrees. Among other areas of application, their results could apply to the development of tiny robots and gripping devices.
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The findings of the Kiel working group have already resulted in the development of an extremely strong adhesive tape, which functions according to the “gecko principle,” and can be removed without leaving any residue.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-09-team-adhesiveness-silicone-beetles.html#jCp
Turning heat into electricity
Thermoelectric devices are made from materials that can convert a temperature difference into electricity, without requiring any moving parts — a quality that makes thermoelectrics a potentially appealing source of electricity. The phenomenon is reversible: If electricity is applied to a thermoelectric device, it can produce a temperature difference. Today, thermoelectric devices are used for relatively low-power applications, such as powering small sensors along oil pipelines, backing up batteries on space probes, and cooling minifridges.
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When a thermoelectric material is exposed to a temperature gradient — for example, one end is heated, while the other is cooled — electrons in that material start to flow from the hot end to the cold end, generating an electric current. The larger the temperature difference, the more electric current is produced, and the more power is generated. The amount of energy that can be generated depends on the particular transport properties of the electrons in a given material.
Scientists have observed that some topological materials can be made into efficient thermoelectric devices through nanostructuring, a technique scientists use to synthesize a material by patterning its features at the scale of nanometers.
Specifically, they found that lower-energy electrons tend to have a negative impact on the generation of a voltage difference, and therefore electric current. These low-energy electrons also have longer mean free paths, meaning they can be scattered by grain boundaries more intensively than higher-energy electrons.
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