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Scientist use household product to fuel sound wave advancement.

Voice calls may be the key to a longer battery life for cell phones.  A group of Korean scientists are now working on a way to power up cell phone batteries with just a little conversation.  

Researchers Young Jun Park and Sang-Woo Kim led the team who discovered how to utilize the prime ingredient in calamine lotion -- zinc oxide --  to develop a nanomaterial that turns sound waves into electricity.

After creating a field of nanowires sandwiched between two electrodes, the group was able to produce a current of 50 millivolts by blasting the field with sound waves of 100db (a normal conversation is 60-70db), according to

"Just as speakers transform electric signals into sound, the opposite process — of turning sound into a source of electrical power — is possible. Sound power can be used for various novel applications including mobile phones that can be charged during conversations and sound-insulating walls near highways that generate electricity from the sound of passing vehicles," said Young Jun Park and Sang-Woo Kim.

In addition to the possibility of using this research to help keep phones charged in the future, the technology is also being considered as a means to add power to electrical grids during rush hour.

Young Jun Park and Sang-Woo Kim presented their findings in an article which appears in the 
 Advanced Materials journal.

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RE: I might as well say it...
By MrTeal on 9/14/2010 5:57:15 PM , Rating: 3
It's worth reminding people that the difference between 70 dB and 100 dB isn't 40%, it's actually 800% louder.

Loudness is a poor way to look at it, since it's related to how we perceive sound and the ear is highly non-linear. A 100dB pressure wave actually has 1000x (100,000%) the energy of a 70dB pressure wave. If you're getting not enough power to charge a battery at 100dB, you're getting a thousand times less talking into it.

RE: I might as well say it...
By MozeeToby on 9/15/2010 12:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
Doh! You're right of course, for some reason I was thinking that every 10 decibels was a 2x increase. As you point out, the situation is even worse than my original post makes it seem.

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