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Power-producing fabric sets sail

August 1st, 2011 / By: / Industry News

Patents have been granted to a team at Bolton University, Bolton, U.K., for a flexible cloth that can generate electricity from both solar cells (power from sunlight) and piezoelectric fibers (power from kinetic motion). Among the potential applications for the fabric: sails on a schooner that can provide electricity while catching the wind, computer bags that keep the laptop powered up and handbags that light up to prevent users from struggling to find keys. Smart textiles are a specialty at Bolton’s Institute for Material Research and Innovation, where another research group pioneered work on auxetic materials that grow thicker when stretched.