Self-powered pressure sensor based on the triboelectric effect and its analysis using dynamic mechanical analysis

Garcia, Cristobal and Trendafilova, Irina and Guzman de Villoria, Roberto and Sanchez del Rio, Jose (2018) Self-powered pressure sensor based on the triboelectric effect and its analysis using dynamic mechanical analysis. Nano Energy, 50. pp. 401-409. ISSN 2211-2855 (

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Since 2012 there has been a rapid rise in the development of triboelectric nanogenerators due to their potential applications in the field of energy harvesting and self-powered sensors for vibrations, accelerations, touches, pressures and other mechanical motions. This study suggests a novel triboelectric nanogenerator based on the interaction between polyvinylidene fluoride and polyvinylpyrrolidone submicron fibers. Polyvinylpyrrolidone is introduced as a new material for the TENG because of its tendency of losing electrons easily, while polyvinylidene fluoride is selected for its strong-electron attracting ability. Electrospinning is suggested as a fabrication method for the nanofibers due to its simplicity, versatility and low-cost. Furthermore, the paper explores the possibility to use this triboelectric nanogenerator as a self-powered pressure sensor. For this purpose, the nanogenerator is subjected to dynamic mechanic analysis which produces controlled pressure forces applied with a certain frequency. This is the first work to suggest the use of dynamic mechanical analyzer to study the relation between the applied mechanical stimulus and the electric responses of the triboelectric nanogenerator. Eventually the sensitivity of the nanogenerator to different pressures is analyzed. A directly proportional relationship is found between the pressure applied and the resultant voltage and current amplitudes. The developed nanogenerator reacts to pressure in real time and as a sensor it exhibits a very high sensitivity and low experimental error for repeated measurements. The main contributions of this study are the development of a novel nanogenerator based on the triboelectric effect between polyvinylidene fluoride and polyvinylpyrrolidone electrospun fibers and the investigation for its potential use as a self-power pressure sensor. Eventually, the paper explores the advantages of dynamic mechanical analyzer for pressure analysis.