Scientists turn ordinary brick into a device for storing electricity
Chemists have developed a substance that, when applied to the surface of ordinary red brick, turns it into a supercapacitor..
For several thousand years, bricks have been used in building construction and are rarely used for other purposes. However, researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis have found a way to turn it into a low-power storage device for electricity..
Experimenting with the red pigment in bricks (rust), the team developed a coating made from a conductive polymer, polystyrene sulfonate, which is composed of nanofibers. After application, the substance penetrates into the porous structure of the block, where it reacts with iron oxide and turns into an ionic sponge that conducts and accumulates electricity.
The prototype created in this way «smart brick» is able to quickly accumulate energy and, if necessary, give it away. Although the units have low storage capacity, they can be charged and discharged thousands of times in one hour, just like supercapacitors..
Research has shown that one modified brick can power a white LED for 10 minutes, and 50 connected blocks can support emergency lighting for 5 hours..
The team is now looking for ways to improve efficiency and are experimenting with various oxides, polymers, and types of bricks. In the future, scientists plan to connect entire walls of modified blocks to solar cells, microelectronic sensors and air purification systems..
Recall that recently, scientists have also found a way to store hydrogen in solid form. at room temperature.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: Washington University in St. Louis