News & AnalysisMaterials Research Society Fall Meeting and Exhibit

The Power of Friction

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Science  04 Jan 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6115, pp. 20-21
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6115.20-a

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When you're on the move and unable to plug in your portable devices to recharge them, you could use a tiny generator to harvest some of the energy of movement and turn it into electric charge. Engineers have created such devices, but so far they haven't produced much power. Until, that is, they wrapped one in plastic. Similar devices may be able to produce as much as 40 kilowatts of power per cubic meter, which could make nanogenerators a large-scale power source.