Mar 6, 2018 | No Comments | By Jessica Ader
HEMI Prof. Sung Hoon Kang leads the Kang Group, which recently developed a method to increase the flexibility and stretch of piezoelectric materials by using architected cuts in the material. Architected cuts have previously proven useful in other thin films, but had not yet been applied to piezoelectric materials which can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.
The team drew inspiration from Kirigami, a method of creating structures that is similar to origami but involves cutting instead of folding. When applying these methods to the piezoelectric films the materials can be made to be more flexible, allowing researchers to adjust the films as needed. This means that structures created with the film can be more effectively designed for specific goals. For example, the film can be tuned to more efficiently convert vibrations from mechanical energy to electrical energy at different wind speeds. Kang explained that this can be useful for wearable technology as well in that the greater flexibility works well for clothing, which must be able to fold and curve.