Scientists from the University of South Carolina have invented a T-shirt that could charge cell phones. They believe this gadget would be quite useful in the future, as it gives portable energy.
"In the future, you can imagine our cell phones will be just like a piece of paper you can roll up. But we need to have a flexible energy device to integrate with flexible, stretchable motherboards," Discovery News quoted Xiaodong Li, professor at the University of South Carolina, as saying.
Scientists tried several methods to create this unique product, with all but one failing. To create the shirt, scientists first bought a normal cotton T-shirit that cost only $5. Then they dipped the cotton in a sodium fluoride solution for an hour. Scientists took the shirt and dried it in a preheated oven for three hours. Then they heated it in a hotter furnace for an hour, according to the Discovery report.
After this process, the shirt had converted or changed into activated carbon. Then scientists coated the T-shirt with metal manganese oxide in order to storage the energy.
Scientists found that the T-shirt could charge cell phones; they also found that the shirt could charge mobiles more quickly than any other method.
"This is a very simple low-cost process, and it's green," Li said.
Scientists are now planning to create more T-shirts and they are looking for a potential textile manufacturer, where they can get their raw materials such as cotton directly.
"The novelty of this work is that they have converted the fabric using simple heat treatment processes and a little bit of a chemical process," Discovery News quoted Reza Shahbazian-Yassar, associate professor at Michigan Technological University, as saying.
"The challenge of course is to improve the amount of energy that these fibres can store," he added. "The material also has to be able to keep performing well after regular folding and stretching."
"I like to think about the big picture," he said. "Down the road, we will see such cotton-enabled energy devices in the market. We won't need to rely on oil anymore."