Cheap t-shirts can be turned into capacitors

Scientists charge mobile phones with cheap t-shirts

Soon you’ll be able to charge your phone with what you’re wearing.

Scientists at the university of South Carolina have developed a process to enable t-shirts to store an electrical charge.

Professor Xiaodong Li and researcher Lihong Bao teamed up to create a hybrid fabric which had been converted from cellulose to activated carbon by soaking a cheap t-shirt in a solution of fluoride, then drying and baking it in an oxygen-free environment.

By using small swatches of the fabric as an electrode, the researchers showed that the flexible material could then be made to act as a capacitor.

Capacitors store an electrical charge and are components of nearly every electronic device you can think of.

The hybrid fabric remained resilient even after thousands of charge-discharge cycles; performance didn’t diminish more than five per cent.

"We wear fabric every day," said Prof Li. "One day our cotton T-shirts could have more functions; for example, a flexible energy storage device that could charge your cell phone or your iPad."

"We will soon see roll-up cell phones and laptop computers on the market, but a flexible energy storage device is needed to make this possible," he added

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