Lint And Dog Hair Supercapacitor

[Mechanicus] has made a supercapacitor with a claimed 55 Farads per gram of active material. And he’s made it using dryer lint and dog hair. And he’s done it in 24 hours. That’s the short story. The longer story is an epic journey of self-discovery and dog ownership, and involves a cabin in the Wyoming backwoods.

So how did he do it?

He started with a home-made crucible that you maybe wouldn’t want to carry around in public as it bears more than a passing resemblance to a pipe bomb. Into that he packed his dog hair and lint, along with a generous helping of ammonia. An hour or two in a woodstove glowing red, and he’d made a rod of mostly carbon with the required high surface area. He sawed off a carbon slice, bathed it in lithium sulphate and potassium iodide electrolyte, and with the addition of a couple of pieces of stainless steel he had a supercapacitor.

Full details of his build can be found on the hackaday.io pages linked above, but there is also a handy YouTube video below the break.

We’ve featured supercapacitors many times here at Hackaday, including a few home builds like this one in a Tic-Tac container. Of as much interest is scientific work in this field, including work on using spent cigarette butts as a raw material, or on laser-etching graphene in a CD burner.

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26 thoughts on “Lint And Dog Hair Supercapacitor

    1. I might be able to answer some of this.

      I believe he created activated carbon, chemically activated primarily.

      To make carbon, or what is loosely called char lint. He heated something carbon based (lint and dog fur) in the absence of oxygen.

      Without the oxygen the carbon will not combust. And you’re left with pure carbon and whatever else is in there.

      If you get it hot enough you will end up with the carbon layers spreading someone leaving a framework with a massive surface area (activated) carbon.

      But add the right chemical, usually a strong acid or base (I’ve used battery acid H2SO4 and sodium hydroxide NaOH) and it will eat at the carbon again leaving a structure with many many channels and massive absorption capabilities.

      Why ammonia? I’m not too sure, but ammonia will solve CO2 under heat and movie it out as steam. Also it’s readily available (as are a bunch of other chems).

        1. Thanks Alex! Chemistry isn’t my strong suite at all but basically it increases surface area.
          That could be one smelly capacitor though.
          Future experimentation for MECHANICUS would likely involve hair from different dog breeds and comparing towel lint versus jeans.
          This is such a weird experiment; MECHANICUS knows how to think further outside of the box than most.

    1. The lint collection goes faster with a dog. Wash their blanket, and suddenly a lot more lint.

      Then there’s the hair on the rugs. Might as well put it to some use other than the compost. Of course, it’s partially seasonal, a big supply coming around now as the winter hair is shed.

      Michael

    2. Forgot to mention hair actually makes better supercaps, because of the hetero atoms in cysteine that makes up keratin. Nitrogen Oxygen and Sulfur atoms allow more faradaic redox reactions at the cathode increasing capacity.

    3. You can use any porous dielectric you like to make these pseudocapacitors. Silk works well, but you can even use your recycled underwear. Pyrolyzed polyimide (Kapton) works very well. Apply Kapton tape to one electrode surface, bake at high temperature in an oxygen free environment, apply the opposite electrode, soak in electrolyte. Pyrolyzed Scotch tape works too.

  1. So here we have a fellow with 33 “projects” listed on Hackday.io.

    Covering multiple new battery technologies, cold fusion, fuel cells, EM drives, artificial muscles, space planes, desalination, water electrolysis, supercapacitors, and so on. Any of which would be an incredible feat. Any of which would take significant time to properly attempt and even fail at, much less succeed; yet if you look at the post dates, he’s working on many of them at the same time.

    And he invariably claims he’s making great progress.

    Desalination? “Successfully” tested with Dr. Pepper. “The caramel color in soft drinks is difficult to remove as it is thoroughly dissolved and can not be filtered out…only water can pass through the individual graphene sheets…as is shown here in this video”. Why didn’t he just just try with salt water? Simple. Because caramel color, contrary to his claim, is actually very easy to remove – with common activated charcoal. You don’t even need to make graphene to pull off this impressive (but completely bogus) demo.

    Artificial muscles? Not a hint of success, yet he’s “99% there”.

    Platinum-free fuel cell? “I attempted this in 2015 and failed hard, coming back I know what I did wrong and how to fix it.” Ok then, why havent you done it already?

    And so on. And on, and on…

    But how about this project, the lint and dog hair supercapacitor? More than likely, what he’s created is mostly an electrochemical battery, like the Tic-Tac supercapacitor likely was. That alone would be forgivable, but take a look at the graph on his project page showing how he determined capacity. Now how, pray tell, does the measured capacity continue going up linearly with time, even though the power output is clearly dropping?

    Seriously, Hackaday. You folks should know better than to be so easily suckered into featuring pseudoscience and daydreams.

    1. I agree. The guy is a big mouth with a bigger ego. He reads scientific papers and thinks he can better the result, without the proper equipment or scientific method to reproduce the result in the first place. And he thinks he is on the brink of some major discovery, so he is afraid to share any real data (if he has any).

      1. You are totally right, just a loser who lives in his mom’s basement. I only spend 70 plus hours on all these things every-week. I obviously don’t have any of the requisite equipment, or any scientific method to test the millions of variables present. Only universities can work on these things and innovation never happens in the garage.

        Thanks for your opinions, I will work harder at my retail job and attempt to afford the things that would satisfy your needs. Until then feel free to check in on one loser’s attempt to help the problems the world faces, and the problems I face.

        1. As a fellow tinkerer, I wholeheartedly agree. Considering what we have commonly and cheaply available wasn’t even available to front line scientists a hundred years ago, there is plenty of room for discovery. Hack on!

    2. Well said Chris. It is clear from reading through his projects he lacks the background knowledge to fully understand what he is doing. It is also clear he does not understand the difference between doping and functionalizaton of graphene, or the purpose of functionalization.
      There are plenty of well documented projects on .io that would have been a better choice for an article.

      1. Thanks for the constructive criticisms, I will fix the aforementioned.

        Yes I do understand n-doped MWCNT has five atom rings containing nitrogen. Nitrogen when covalently bonded to the surface must then be reduced to close the aromatic ring.

        The purpose of functionalization will be clarified.

        Really guys your comments are more useful than praise and I am grateful.

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