(OILPRICE) — MIT engineers have developed a new polymer film which can take advantage of the chemical energy in a water gradient and turn it into mechanical energy; which in turn can then be converted into electricity.
The film is made from an interlocking network of polypyrrole, which forms a hard but flexible matrix that provides structural support, and polyol-borate, which is a soft gel that swells when it absorbs water.
When the plyol-borate (which is on the bottom of the polymer film) absorbs water, even the tiniest amount, it expands, forcing the film to curl up and move away from the surface. Once exposed to the air it then dries out as the moisture evaporates, somersaults forward, and then begins the process again. By connecting the polymer to a piezoelectric material, the mechanical motion can be converted into electricity, enough to power nanoelectronic devices.