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Kirigamiinspired solar cells track Sun the entire day

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pSolar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available on our planet And with the use of modern technology we can not only harness solar energy for power generation and several other purposesp

pBut generating power is not such an easy task as one the major difficulties faced by the designers of traditional flat solar panels is that the sun keeps moving through out the day Seeking inspiration from kirigami the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting researchers at the University of Michigan have now developed solar cells panel that can work both the waysp

pThe team of engineers and an artist has developed an array of small solar cells that can tilt within a larger panel keeping their surfaces more perpendicular to the sun39s rays as it increases the effective area that is soaking up sunlightp

pTo explore patterns the team of engineers worked with paper artist Matthew Shlian a lecturer in the school of art and design Shlian showed the researchers how to create them in paper using a plotter cutter It was then that the team made more precise patterns in Kapton a spacegrade plastic using a carbondioxide laserp

pCuts in a flexible backing for solar cells allow a flat solar panel to separate into many small cells that can track the sun across the sky Tracking provides a 20 to 40 per cent improvement in the amount of energy captured by the cellsp

pAlthough the team tried more complex designs the simplest pattern worked best With cuts like rows of dashes the plastic pulled apart into a basic mesh The interconnected strips of Kapton tilt in proportion to how much the mesh is stretched to an accuracy of about one degree The optimized design is effective because it stretches easily allowing a lot of tilt without losing much widthp

pquotThe beauty of our design is from the standpoint of the person who39s putting this panel up nothing would really change But inside it would be doing something remarkable on a tiny scale the solar cell would split into tiny segments that would follow the position of the sun in unisonquot said Max Shtein an associate professor of materials science and engineeringp

pThe paper on this study is titled Dynamic kirigami structures for integrated solar tracking The University of Michigan has applied for a patent and is seeking partners to bring the technology to marketp

Author: Sustainability Outlook
Calais Document Category: Renewable Energy power Technology