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April 26, 2016

Piezo Power: Under pressure, crystals live up to their electric potential

Some materials generate an electrical potential when they're mechanically stressed. This ability to convert mechanical energy into a tiny jolt of electricity (or vice-versa) is called the piezoelectric effect, and engineers have been taking advantage of it for years. In this video, "Fast Draw" artists explain how piezoelectric devices work, why they are so prevalent, and how they may soon charge our batteries for all sorts of things, from pacemakers to bridge sensors. They'll even give new meaning to the term "power walk," helping us untether our portable electronics from their cords. The National Science Foundation, through its Directorate for Engineering, supports cutting-edge research in piezoelectric materials as well as piezoelectric-based devices and systems for a more resilient, energy-efficient future.

Credit: CBS News/NSF

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