Physicists have created expandable thermoelectric generators capable of collecting energy from body heat. This was possible thanks to the development of a new composite material, according to a study by scientists from the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linkoping University, published in the journal Nature Communications.
The new composite material consists of three components: PEDOT conductive polymer: PSS, water-soluble polyurethane rubber and ionic liquid. PEDOT: PSS gives it thermoelectric properties, rubber provides elasticity, and ionic liquid – softness.
The thermoelectric generator created on its basis can not only be soft and stretchable, it also has high electrical conductivity and good thermoelectric properties.
According to engineers, this will allow the use of generators in wearable devices and smart clothes – they will allow you to receive energy from the heat of the user’s body and work longer without causing discomfort when worn.
“Our material is 100 times softer and 100 times more flexible than PEDOT: PSS. Our research shows that there are many ionic liquids, conductive polymers and traditional elastomers that can be combined to produce new nanocomposites for various applications, such as the creation of thermoelectric generators, supercapacitors, batteries and sensors”.
Xavier Crispin, lead author of the study