Smart paper may put lightweight spies in the skies

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Smart paper may put lightweight spies in the skies

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Paper aeroplanes could fly by flapping their wings thanks to smart paper that bends when bathed in an electric field. The material raises the prospect of swarms of tiny lightweight aircraft carrying sensors that act as the eyes and ears of a surveillance network.

Electroactive paper (EAPap) is ordinary cotton-based paper, similar to the material used to make US bank notes, coated on each side with a thin layer of gold. The smart paper has been made by researchers from Inha University, South Korea, and Texas A & M University, US

Unlike ordinary paper, EAPap bends as a result of two effects working together. When a voltage is applied, the gold coating on one side of the paper becomes a positively charged while the other side becomes negatively charged. Sodium ions in the paper move towards the negative electrode, taking water molecules with them. This makes that side of the paper expand, causing it to bend.

At the same time, the paper's matrix of cellulose fibres have piezoelectric properties and change shape when a voltage is applied. This increases the bending. The research team have even improved the paper’s piezoelectric properties even further by adding carbon nanotubes to the paper mix

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I like this idea. A smart paper that can flap its wings. This paper bends when in an electrical field. They put a thin coat of gold on both sides of cotton paper, similar to a dollar bill and when voltage is applied, one side becomes negative and the other becomes positive.
By YCON: posted on 13-6-2006








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