New electric charge capacitors in textiles will help to charge mobiles

Researchers at the Alcoy campus of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have developed new accumulative devices for electric charging in textile materials that would help, for example, to charge the mobile phone.

These are 'supercapacitors' on active carbon fabrics that stand out for their excellent electrical properties and high power level, sources at the academic institution have informed EFE.

The new devices designed by the researchers, who have published their work in the European Polymer Journal, take advantage of the full potential of three materials: activated carbon, graphene and polyaniline.

As explained by the Group of electrocatalysis, electrochemical synthesis and polymer characterization (GESEP) of the UPV Alcoy campus, his study focuses on using textile materials as electrodes.

In this case, the devices that have been designed and evaluated take full advantage of the potential of active carbon, graphene and polyaniline, a high performance polymer widely used in textile materials.

From their laboratories on the Alcoy campus, they have evaluated different strategies that allow obtaining electric charge accumulators from the electrochemical reduction of graphene oxide on the surface of activated carbon (reduced graphene oxide, RGO) and subsequent electrosynthesis of polyaniline (Pani).

"We have obtained new electric charge accumulators with very competitive specific power values, which could be used to charge the batteries of different devices," said Francisco J. Cases, director of the UPV GESEP.

Supercondensers are developed on textile materials, and therefore the volume / mass and surface / mass ratios are very high, "hence their enormous potential."

In addition, as textile materials, these supercapacitors could be of small dimensions to supply energy to mobile devices, "from our phone, to a tablet or a laptop, for just a few examples," adds Cases.

According to the tests they have developed in their laboratories, these new devices support a thousand loading and unloading cycles without problems.

"This is the equivalent of three years of daily loading and unloading of a mobile," explains José Antonio Bonastre, also a researcher at GESEP-UPV.

In addition to their application in "smart" textiles, UPV researchers point out that these new 'supercapacitors' have great potential as an alternative to lithium batteries or fuel cells.

"The tests we have developed in the laboratories show that our devices have a very competitive specific power," Bonastre notes.

In the case of fuel cells, it varies between 2 and 200 W / kg and in the case of lithium batteries, between 100 and 600, notes Bonastre, who adds: "Our 'supercapacitors' of activated carbon, polyaniline and graphene reach powers of 500 W / kg ".

They can also be used for the treatment of wastewater by electrolysis and even in biomedical applications.

"In the first case, we have already applied it for the bleaching of textile wastewater, with very promising preliminary results," adds Francisco Cases.

The work of the Electrocatalysis Group Electrochemical Synthesis and Polymer Characterization (GESEP) is now focused on developing prototypes that are capable of decontaminating larger volumes of industrial wastewater, using these textile materials as electrodes in an electrochemical system.

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