Thursday 19 October 2017

Irish scientists make electricity out of tears

Aimee Stapleton, the lead author, at work in the Department of Physics and Bernal Institute of UL
Aimee Stapleton, the lead author, at work in the Department of Physics and Bernal Institute of UL

Ian Begley

A team of Irish scientists have discovered how to generate electricity from tears.

Researchers from the University of Limerick found that applying pressure to a protein found in tears can actually generate electricity.

However, it is not only tears that can produce electricity - the protein is also found in egg whites, saliva and milk.

The ability to generate electricity by applying pressure is known as direct piezoelectricity.

It is a property of materials that can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice-versa.

These are already used in devices such as mobile phones, deep ocean sonars and ultrasound imaging.

"While piezoelectricity is used all around us, the capacity to generate electricity from this particular protein had not been explored," said researcher Aimee Stapleton.

"However, because it is non-toxic it could have many innovative applications such as electroactive anti-microbial coatings for medical implants [such as pacemakers]."

Irish Independent

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