Performance of triboelectric nanogenerators for harvesting mechanical energy from the ambient environment has been limited by structural complexity, cost-effectiveness, and mechanical weakness of materials. Herein, a cost-effective vertical contact separation mode triboelectric nanogenerator using polyethylene (PE) and polycarbonate (PC) in a regular digital versatile disc is reported. This cost-effective nanogenerator with simplified structures is able to generate an open-circuit voltage of 215.3 V and short-circuit current of 80 μA. The effects of the distance of impact and the air gap between the triboelectric layers have also been tested from 3 to 9 cm, and 0.25 to 1 cm, respectively. It is determined that 0.5 cm is the optimal air gap. The nanogenerator is also tested in different real-life scenarios including stresses produced by a moving car, walking, and a rolling skateboard over the nanogenerator. The surfaces of the triboelectric layers are further modified by surface-charge engineering which induced a 460% increase in the output power. These tests reveal a significant electrical response and mechanical stability under stress. In summary, this study demonstrates that the relatively inexpensive PE and PC triboelectric pair has the potential to be used for highly efficient, mechanically robust triboelectric nanogenerators.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF PREM) award under grant No. DMR‐1523577: UTRGV‐UMN Partnership for Fostering Innovation by Bridging Excellence in Research and Student Success. This project was partially supported by the Welch Foundation Award: BX‐0048.
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH
- energy harvester
- green energy
- surface-charge engineering