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Just think if humidity in the air can be used to power your smartphones or ipads? It is possible if water droplets can generate small amounts of electricity.
Researchers at massachusetts institute of technology (mit) have discovered that when water droplets can gain electric charge when they spontaneously jump away from super hydrophobic surfaces during condensation.
The new system also has other advantage: it can also produce clean water. The device will have a series of interleaved flat metal plates that can be made of cheaper aluminum.
Nenad miljkovic, post-doctoral fellow and evelyn wang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, at mit says that as water droplets jump, they carry charge from one plate to the other; if the two plates are connected through an external circuit, that charge difference can be harnessed to provide power.
The system is based on earlier findings by miljkovic and wang that droplets on a superhydrophobic surface convert surface energy to kinetic energy as they merge to form larger droplets.
This sometimes causes the droplets to spontaneously jump away; enhancing heat transfer by 30 percent relative to other techniques. The researchers later found that in that process, the jumping droplets gain a small electric charge. In a practical device, two arrays of metal plates – like fins on a radiator – would be interleaved so that they are very close but not touching.
This will allow the device to produce condensation, just as water condenses from warm, humid air on the outside of a cold glass.