Device uses electrostrictive polymers to generate electrical energy from natural motion
The U.S. Navy seeks to commercialize U.S. Patent 6,433,465 (Energy-harvesting device using electrostrictive polymers).
Electrical energy generated from natural motion such as walking has long been thought to be a viable source of power. By deforming certain materials, energy from motion can be converted into electricity; however, current materials used for this energy conversion are problematic in that they deform minutely with each step, thereby providing only small, relatively inefficient, voltage generation. SSC Pacific’s technology uses a highly deformable energy-converting substance, which successfully overcomes current technological inefficiencies, and SSC Pacific has patented the application of the polymers to shoes and articles of clothing.
Electrostrictive polymers bend and contort when an electric voltage is applied across them. SSC Pacific recognized that this process can be reversed. By deforming an electrostrictive or electroactive polymer, natural energy can be converted to a usable form of electrical energy. In the sole of a shoe, this polymer can convert the energy produced by a 115 lb person walking briskly into 5 watts of electrical power, thereby generating 5 joules of energy every second. From continuously recharging batteries to powering micro devices, this highly commercializable technology has the potential to revolutionize the growing portable device market, and has even larger applications in wind, wave, and other natural motion-generated energy conversion needs.
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- SD 772, December 2007. SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA 92152–5001. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.