Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered a new way of generating electricity using tiny carbon particles that can create a current simply by interacting with the liquid surrounding them.
How electricity is generated?
- A new material made from carbon nanotubes can generate electricity by scavenging energy from its environment.
- The liquid, an organic solvent, draws electrons out of the particles and generates current.
- This current can be used to drive chemical reactions or to power micro or nanoscale robots.
- In a new study describing this phenomenon, this electric current can also be used to drive a reaction known as alcohol oxidation.
Note: Alcohol oxidation is an organic chemical reaction that is important in the chemical industry.
- The new discovery grew out of Strano’s research on carbon nanotubes.
- Carbon nanotubes are hollow tubes made of lattice of carbon atoms which have unique electrical properties.
- The potential of carbon nanotubes to generate thermopower waves was demonstrated way back in 2010.
- When Carbon nanotube is coated with layer of fuel, moving pulses of heat or thermopower waves travelling along tube generates electrical current.
Feature of carbon nanotubes:
- When part of carbon nanotube is coated with Teflon-like polymer, it creates an asymmetry.
- This makes it possible for electrons to flow from coated to uncoated part of tube, which generates an electrical current.
- Current version of particles can generate about 0.7 volts of electricity per particle.
About Carbon nanotubes (CNTs):
- CNTs are tubes made of carbon having diameters in nanometres.
- They are referred to as single-wall carbon nanotubes and are one of the allotropes of carbon.
- They are intermediate between two allotropes of carbon- fullerene cages and flat graphene.