Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA
Supercapacitor fibers that can serve as power source for wearable technologies has been recently developed. A team of scientists from Deakin University, Australia has spun 2-dimensional “MXene,” into fibrous strands, which can be a power source for electronic gadgets. The scientists from the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University envision that one day clothing items such as trousers containing the supercapacitor fibers can help charge a mobile phone by just slipping into pocket areas in trousers that have these MXene fibers.
The new development comes from the process improvement where MXene, which is commonly not spinnable, when integrated with graphene sheets evolved as fibrous strands.
The team has been working on the process improvement to get spinnable strands for three years, led by Associate Professor Joselito Razal at Deakin. Energy gets stored at the microscopic spaces of the MXene-graphene fibrous strands. According to Shayan Seyedin, a researcher in the Deakin team, this supercapacitor fiber can be an alternative to bulky batteries for charging gadgets.
The supercapacitor fibers showed high capacitance and electrical conductivity with good strength and flexibility, enabling them to be made into wearable clothing. The next task for the researchers is to make the structures more flexible and washable. MXene offers good metallic conductivity and electrochemical properties and hence attracts researchers to develop new technologies using this material such as wearables.
The research has appeared in a recent edition of Journal of Materials Chemistry A. Cost, washability and durability are challenges that need to be overcome in wearable electronics. However, due to novel applications and limitless opportunities for R & D in this field, wearable electronics attracts multidisciplinary researchers.