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New Method Converts Bricks into Energy Storage Units

Nov, 2020

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The research has shown that a smart brick can charge up to three volts in ten seconds and light up a green LED for around ten minutes.

Bricks may not look like something that could be high-tech, however, the researchers proved it wrong. Now, the research team from Washington University in St. Louis has found a way to turn red bricks into energy storage units. The research was published in August 2020 in the Nature Communications journal. The world’s most familiar and cheapest building material can be converted into energy storage devices that can be charged to hold electricity, like a battery. Now, the researchers have developed a new method to develop smart bricks that can store energy until needed for powering devices.

The new method works with both regular brick and recycled bricks. Bricks can be turned into efficient energy storage devices, with the help of the red pigment they contain. The team used a conductive polymer named PEDOT to make smart bricks that can store energy. The researchers took regular red bricks and then coated them in PEDOT to give them additional abilities. PEDOT is made of nanofiber that eventually turns into an ion sponge that conducts and stores energy. With the help of this conductive polymer, bricks become supercapacitors, eventually store energy, and can be charged/discharged more rapidly than batteries.

Moreover, one can stack them together to form a large or small energy storage device. The research has shown that a smart brick can charge up to three volts in ten seconds and light up a green LED for around ten minutes. It even worked underwater. Moreover, smart bricks can be routed to renewable sources to power lights and microelectronic sensors. They can be recharged hundreds of times every hour. According to the study author, Julio D’Arcy, PEDOT-coated bricks can power emergency lighting. The new method is cheaper and simpler and can be performed on new or recycled bricks.

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