(May 18, 2015) Ricoh today announced that it has created a novel flexible material "Energy-Generating Rubber" that converts pressure and vibration into electric energy with high efficiency.
Currently, piezoelectric materials, which generate electricity with mechanical strain, are drawing attention as energy-harvesting* materials. Major piezoelectric materials are ceramics and polymers, but they have some deficits which prevent them from wide prevalence.
Piezoelectric ceramics are used for restricted purposes because of their fragility and heavy weight although they generate relatively high electricity. On the other hand, piezoelectric polymers generate very slight electricity although they achieve flexibility by reducing the thickness.
The "Energy-Generating Rubber" created by Ricoh generates as high a level of electricity as ceramics while its appearance is a soft and flexible sheet. Since it overcomes the deficits of previous piezoelectric ceramics and polymers, it is expected to be applied to multiple areas combining the advantages of flexibility and high-output.
Ricoh will advance research in this technology aiming at commercializing the material for various purposes especially flexible sensors. In the future, it will contribute to the coming age of IoT, when various devices are equipped with communication features, by providing a promising energy-generating material.
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