Washington: Researchers are turning to airwaves to power batteries in airplanes and automobiles.
About half-inch by an inch in size, these devices might be mounted on the roof or tail of a car or on a plane fuselage where they would vibrate inside a flow, producing an output voltage.
The power generated would be enough to run a subsystem, such as batteries to charge control panels and mobile phones.
Led by Yiannis Andreopoulos, professor at the City College of New York (CCNY), researchers are attempting to optimise these peizo-electronic devices by modelling the physical forces to which they are subjected.
When the device is placed in the wake of a cylinder -- such as on the back of a truck -- the flow of air will cause the devices to vibrate in resonance, says Andreopoulos.
On the roof of car, they will shake in a much more unsteady flow known as a turbulent boundary layer, says a CCNY release.
"These devices open the possibility to continuously scavenge otherwise wasted energy from the environment," says Andreopoulos.
These findings were presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society`s (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics.