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Robust Triboelectric Nanogenerator Based on Rolling Electrification and Electrostatic Induction at an Instantaneous Energy Conversion Efficiency of ∼55%

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posted on 27.01.2015, 00:00 by Long Lin, Yannan Xie, Simiao Niu, Sihong Wang, Po-Kang Yang, Zhong Lin Wang
In comparison to in-pane sliding friction, rolling friction not only is likely to consume less mechanical energy but also presents high robustness with minimized wearing of materials. In this work, we introduce a highly efficient approach for harvesting mechanical energy based on rolling electrification and electrostatic induction, aiming at improving the energy conversion efficiency and device durability. The rolling triboelectric nanogenerator is composed of multiple steel rods sandwiched by two fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) thin films. The rolling motion of the steel rods between the FEP thin films introduces triboelectric charges on both surfaces and leads to the change of potential difference between each pair of electrodes on back of the FEP layer, which drives the electrons to flow in the external load. As power generators, each pair of output terminals works independently and delivers an open-circuit voltage of 425 V, and a short-circuit current density of 5 mA/m2. The two output terminals can also be integrated to achieve an overall power density of up to 1.6 W/m2. The impacts of variable structural factors were investigated for optimization of the output performance, and other prototypes based on rolling balls were developed to accommodate different types of mechanical energy sources. Owing to the low frictional coefficient of the rolling motion, an instantaneous energy conversion efficiency of up to 55% was demonstrated and the high durability of the device was confirmed. This work presents a substantial advancement of the triboelectric nanogenerators toward large-scope energy harvesting and self-powered systems.