The high-intensity search for power has recently led to a countless number of innovations. Many among them stumbled upon the factor of feasibility, while others proved themselves a failure in terms of large-scale efficiency. Standing quite different to this is the new Energy-Generating Rubber from Japanese company Ricoh.
We are not looking into how Ricoh manages to put flexibility and efficiency together in a piece of rubber. That’s not because we think you would want to skip the part, but it’s just that Ricoh hasn’t revealed the details as yet. However, we do have a bit of knowledge of how efficient the new rubber can prove to be when put to work.
Ricoh’s Energy-Generating rubber , developed in association with Tokyo University of Science, is formed by a piezoelectric polymer that transforms the mechanical action upon it into useful electric power.
This comes as nothing new for those who have dealt with pressure and vibration sensors. The same principle gets applied to specific electronic uses where pressure and vibration actions are transformed to electricity. But what comes as novel here is the combined result of higher flexibility and efficiency.
Use of ceramics has been found to convert the mechanical strains to electric power with higher efficiency. But the one area with which it lacked was with its flexibility. The case gets reversed for polymer action, which does the same with high durability, yet with lower efficiency.
The problem with having lower flexibility is that you barely could use the material in a wide range of applicability. This is where Ricoh does the trick.
Ricoh’s piezoelectric polymer is durable than a normal polymer, and offers higher efficiencies than that of a ceramic. Plus, it even has got its sensitivity raised. In effect, even minor vibrations or pressure application means you get more power than with other materials.
The company is yet to come out with any commercial version of their new discovery, but will be soon bringing out the same with current researches headed in the right direction. If so, these will be finding its application first in sensors, which itself forms half the life of current technological pace.