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Clustering provides an effective way for extending the lifetime of a sensor network. When cluster heads cooperate with each other to forward their data to the base station, the cluster heads closer to the base station are burdened with heavy relay traffic and tend to die early, leaving areas of the network uncovered and causing network partition. To address the problem, we propose an energy-efficient Unequal Clustering Algorithm (UCA) for data gathering, which can lead to more uniform energy dissipation among the cluster head nodes, thus increasing network lifetime. Simulation results show that UCA outperforms M-LEACH significantly with prolonging the network lifetime over 22%.