Hub Associate Member Dr Shayan Seyedin alongside Chief Investigator A/Prof Joe Razal have recently been receiving media attention for their work creating fibres that could one day turn our clothes into chargers for electronic devices.
The new fibres are made by combining sheets of MXene – a nanoscopic material made of carbon and titanium – with a small amount of graphene, resulting in a knittable fibre with “amazing energy properties”. These fibres represent a new class of fibre supercapacitors with the potential for creating flexible power sources for electronic gadgets and wearable technologies – meaning one day your jeans pocket could charge your mobile phone.
MXene, originally discovered at Drexel University (US) in 2011, is typically not spinnable on its own, due to being made out of small sheets rather than interlocking polymers. Shayan worked out a way to integrate MXene with graphene sheets, which wrinkled together into a strand of high-tech fibre that can be knitted into a fabric – offering a wearable alternative to bulky batteries and portable chargers.
Shayan and Joe are now investigating how to scale up production of the fibres, and improve their performance and flexibility, before testing them in real life applications. The fibres they have made to date are capable of charging electronic devices that don’t require much power, such as smart watches and Fitbits.