Developing Novel Triboelectric Nanogenerators with Slippery Liquid Interfaces

Project: Research

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Energy harvesting devices that prosper in harsh environments are highly demanded in a wide range of applications ranging from wearable and biomedical devices to self-powered and intelligent systems. Particularly, over the past several years, the innovation of triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) that efficiently convert ambient energy of water droplets to electricity has received growing attention. Despite extensive advances in this research field, it remains challenging to engineer robust, reliable and efficient energy harvesting devices for large-scale deployment and market penetration, in part due to the fast degradation of the physiochemical properties of interfacial materials under harsh environments.Conventional TENGs usually are designed to be hydrophobic or superhydrophobic (SHS) to be capable of repelling the liquid droplet timely. However, impacting droplet with high enough dynamic pressure can lead to the collapse of the preferred long-term liquid repellency state and thus the unwanted instability in power generation. Apart from this, when exposed to dynamic working conditions involving mechanical stretching, bending, and abrasion, the rough structures essential to the SHS state of TENGs can be easily broken. The problem is further complicated when SHS based TENGs are exposed to extreme environments such as high humidity, low temperature and submerged conditions. Thus, the rational design of novel interfacial materials for durable and sustainable development of TENG remains an unsolved challenge.In this project we propose to design a novel slippery lubricant-impregnated porous surface (SLIPS) based TENG, referred to as SLIPS-TENG, that is promising to exhibit all aspects of advantages over conventional design including optical transparency, self-healing, self-cleaning, flexibility, and power generation stability, in a wide range of working environments. We will first implement an integrated experimental, modeling and simulation approach to probe the basic mechanism of electricity generation on SLIPS-TENG. We will then investigate its electricity generation performance under various harsh environment such as low temperature or biofouling conditions, to evaluate its robustness for practical applications. We will also explore the possibility of device integration with flexible materials to develop multifunctional devices such as flexible electronics, as wells as with other energy harvesting devices such as solar cells to collect energy from the environment in different weather conditions. 


Project number9042872
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/09/19 → …