Energy harvesting systems for low-power devices are increasingly being a requirement within the context of the Internet of Things and, in particular, for self-powered sensors in remote or inaccessible locations. Triboelectric nanogenerators are a suitable approach for harvesting environmental mechanical energy otherwise wasted in nature. This work reports on the evaluation of the output power of different polymer and polymer composites, by using the triboelectric contact-separation systems (10 N of force followed by 5 cm of separation per cycle). Different materials were used as positive (Mica, polyamide (PA66) and styrene/ethylene-butadiene/styrene (SEBS)) and negative (polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), polyurethane (PU), polypropylene (PP) and Kapton) charge materials. The obtained output power ranges from 0.2 to 5.9 mW, depending on the pair of materials, for an active area of 46.4 cm2. The highest response was obtained for Mica with PVDF composites with 30 wt.% of barium titanate (BT) and PA66 with PU pairs. A simple application has been developed based on vertical contact-separation mode, able to power up light emission diodes (LEDs) with around 30 cycles to charge a capacitor. Further, the capacitor can be charged in one triboelectric cycle if an area of 0.14 m2 is used.
Keywords: energy harvesting; low-power devices; polymer and composites; triboelectric effect.