Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) can transform mechanical energy into electrical energy through the triboelectric effect. The triboelectric effect is a phenomenon in which certain materials become electrically charged after they are separated from a different material with which they were in contact. It is often the cause of the static electricity we experience in everyday life.
TENGs send this electricity through a circuit to power a device. TENG devices can be complicated and/or costly, and they often produce little power. Simplified TENGs can be made with a combination of tape, plastic, and metal, but their low power densities have hampered practical applications.
Gang Wang, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA, and colleagues have developed a new contact–separation triboelectric generator concept using simple materials, including double-sided tape, to achieve higher energy densities than previously reported TENGs. The researchers created a triboelectric generator that contains a double-sided tape attached to an aluminium block on one side and a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film coated with an aluminium layer on the other side.
When these two layers are pressed together and then separated, a small spark forms between them. This power can be used when a wire is attached to the device. The peak power generated depends on the induced pressure. A double-electrode version of the device produced a power density of 169.6 W/m2, 47 % higher than for previously reported TENG devices. The team used the generator concept, e.g., to power 476 LEDs simultaneously, to harvest energy while walking when attached to a shoe, or to power a diode laser, which could allow uses in optoelectronic devices and sensor applications.
- Power Generation by a Double-Sided Tape,
Moon-Hyung Jang, Jacob D. Lee, Yu Lei, Simon Chung, Gang Wang,
ACS Omega 2022.