Photo credit: Julio Darcy
Scientists from Washington University in St. Louis have found a new use for red bricks, one of the world’s most used building materials. New research enables them to transform them into energy storage devices that can be charged to hold electricity, similar to an electric battery. As you can see, there are many uses, including using a brick to directly powering LED lights. Read more for another picture and a additional information.
Turning these bricks into energy storage devices first requires a special plastic coating, called PEDOT, which covers the surface as well as the porous cavities in the interior. After this step, the brick now has a bluish, which allows it to behave like a semiconductor, or a solid substance that has electrical conductivity between that of an insulator and a conductor. By simply connecting two of these special bricks, the scientists were able to create an energy storing device.
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PEDOT-coated bricks are ideal building blocks that can provide power to emergency lighting. We envision that this could be a reality when you connect our bricks with solar cells — this could take 50 bricks in close proximity to the load. These 50 bricks would enable powering emergency lighting for five hours,” said Julio D’Arcy, assistant professor of chemistry at Washington University.