Real-time diagnosis of small energy impacts using a triboelectric nanosensor

Garcia, Cristobal and Trendafilova, Irina (2019) Real-time diagnosis of small energy impacts using a triboelectric nanosensor. Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, 291. pp. 196-203. ISSN 0924-4247 (

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Recently, triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) are generating increasing interest due to their important applications as energy harvesters and self-powered active sensors for pressures, vibrations and other mechanical motions. However, there is still little research within the research community on their potential as self-powered impact sensors. This paper considers the development of a novel triboelectric nanogenerator, which is prepared using a simple and economic fabrication process based on electrospinning. Furthermore, the paper studies the changes in the generated electric response caused by small energy impacts. For the purpose, the TENG electric outputs generated by the impact of a free-falling ball dropped from different heights are investigated. The idea is to investigate the relation between the electric responses of the nanogenerator and the energy of the impact. The experimental results demonstrate that the voltage and current outputs increase linearly with the increase of the impact energy. Moreover, the electric responses of the triboelectric nanogenerator show a very high sensitivity (14 V/J) to the changes in the impact energy and good repeatability. The main achievements of this paper are in the development of novel triboelectric nanogenerator composed of polyvinylidene fluoride nanofibers and a thin film of polypropylene, and its successful application as an impact sensor for real-time assessment of small energy impacts.