Regardless of whether it is the rapidly spoiling food in our fridge or the pile of unwashed laundry in our washing machine, the importance of electricity cannot be overlooked. With the analysis of Benjamin Franklin in the mid-1700s and Michael Faraday in the 1870s, the perception of electricity as an energy source made social inhabitants attain a new climax concerning the amelioration of mankind. Electricity is one of the most prominent assets that science has conferred to the human race. Science has found out bricks as a source of electricity production using PEDOT.


Execution of the idea:

It's been 5000 years since we figured out that baked clay hardens into bricks. These red bricks inside walls can produce enough current to light up a house for 5 hours. This idea involves the development of a scalable, cost-effective, and versatile chemical synthesis using a fired brick to control oxidative radical polymerization and deposition of a nanofibrillar coating of the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT). Brick is cut into a variety of sizes for several purposes like electrochemistry, scaled-up supercapacitor, and scaled-up synthesis.      

What is PEDOT:

Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT) is a polymer mixture of two ionomers-: (1) A negatively charged sodium polystyrene sulfonate and (2) A positively charged conjugated polymer which is based on polythiophene. The charged macromolecules form a macromolecular salt which has the highest efficiency among conductive organic thermoelectric materials (ZT~0.42) and thus can be used in flexible and biodegradable thermoelectric generators. It is mostly comprised of fused particles of silica (SiO2), alumina (Al2O3), and hematite (α-Fe2O3).


Nanofibers of PEDOT squeeze through the pores of the bricks absorbing ions from iron oxide and humidity. Its deposition is initiated by dissolving α-Fe2O3 at 160 °C with HCl vapour. This process liberates Fe3+ ions, promotes hydrolysis, and initiates precipitation of colloidal 1D FeOOH nuclei. Finally, the bricks have changed into a capacitor - a device that stores charge. With the right wires, we can get current out of the brick and light up an LED!. It is observed that If we charge 50 bricks using a solar panel, it can provide emergency lighting for a house for 5 hours.

WRITTEN BY: Debasish Beria


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