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ACS Nano. 2015 Jul 28;9(7):7479-87. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b02575. Epub 2015 Jun 22.

Largely Improving the Robustness and Lifetime of Triboelectric Nanogenerators through Automatic Transition between Contact and Noncontact Working States.

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†School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0245, United States.
‡Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
§Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


Although a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) has been developed to be an efficient approach to harvest mechanical energy, its robustness and lifetime are still to be improved through an effective and widely applicable way. Here, we show a rational designing methodology for achieving a significant improvement of the long-term stability of TENGs through automatic transition between contact and noncontact working states. This is realized by structurally creating two opposite forces in the moving part of the TENG, in which the pulling-away force is controlled by external mechanical motions. In this way, TENGs can work in the noncontact state with minimum surface wear and also transit into contact state intermittently to maintain high triboelectric charge density. A wind-driven disk-based TENG and a rotary barrel-based TENG that can realize automatic state transition under different wind speeds and rotation speeds, respectively, have been demonstrated as two examples, in which their robustness has been largely improved through this automatic transition. This methodology will further expand the practical application of TENGs for long-time usage and for harvesting mechanical energies with fluctuating intensities.


automatic transition; contact and noncontact states; mechanical energy harvesting; robustness improvement; triboelectric nanogenerators


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