Triboelectric Devices for Water Motion Energy Harvesting and Self-Powered Sensing

Have you ever been “shocked” when you touched a car’s door handle or a doorknob? This happens because electrons move from one object to the other. In fact, when any two things come into contact, electrons can move from one to the other. This movement of electrons causes electricity. Depending on the objects’ characteristics, the amount of electricity produced differs. The two objects that come into contact don’t have to both be solid. In this project, we study these variations in electricity production by bringing various solid films – similar to cellophane – into contact with a range of liquids. Studying this phenomenon can not only help us better understand the fundamental properties of all the materials involved, but also help us build better sensors and energy harvesters. For example, devices for detecting water pollution and for producing electricity from the movement of natural water currents.