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News Link • Energy

World's smallest windmills to power cell phones

• http://www.gizmag.com, By Brian Dodson
 Professor J.C. Chiao and his postdoc Dr. Smitha Rao of the University of Texas at Arlington have taken this contrarian philosophy to the extreme. They have developed a MEMS-based nickel alloy windmill so small that 10 could be mounted on a single grain of rice. Aimed at very-small-scale energy harvesting applications, these windmills could recharge batteries for smartphones, and directly power ultra-low-power electronic devices.

The micro-windmills (technically called horizontal axis wind turbines) have a three-bladed rotor 1.8 mm in diameter mounted on a tower about 2 mm tall. The mount is a friction hub, but this probably becomes an air bearing when the rotor is spinning. The thickness of the windmills is about 100 microns.

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