From world biggest economics to the smallest villages, everyone is trying to find greener and cleaner sources of energy and cut down the consumption of fossils fuels. Researchers from IIT Mandi to have a solution and all we would need to do is walk.
The researchers have developed a way to optimize the use of piezoelectric materials which interconvert mechanical energy when they come under stress. Basically the movement of people, vehicles etc would activate these materials. For the unversed, materials like bone crystals (e.g. quartz) and ceramics (e.g.lead zirconate titanate) are the most common ones with piezoelectric properties.
While the idea sounds cool, there’s one big roadblock. The energy produced by the materials is extremely low which limits their applications. But the researchers have found a way around that too with ‘ graded polling’.
Dr Rahul vaish, one of the lead researchers said in a statement, “we have developed a technique known as “graded poling” to enhance the power output of piezoelectric materials by more than 100 times”.
The researchers used several numerical techniques to utilize multiple mechanical stresses – bending, compressive and tensile stresses at the top and bottom of the piezoelectric beams in order to significantly improve the electrical output.
While more research on this underway, the applications look promising. According to the team it includes generating power from the soles of footwear equipped with these materials or developing smart devices that could be powered simply by human motion.