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Surface potential tailoring of PMMA fibers by electrospinning for enhanced triboelectric performance

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Ura, DP 
Kim, SK 
Marzec, MM 
Bernasik, A 


Triboelectric generators rely on contact-generated surface charge transfer between materials with different electron affinities to convert mechanical energy into useful electricity. The ability to modify the surface chemistry of polymeric materials can therefore lead to significant enhancement of the triboelectric performance. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) is a biocompatible polymer commonly used in medical applications, but its central position on the triboelectric series, which empirically ranks materials according to their electron-donating or electron accepting tendencies, renders it unsuitable for application in triboelectric generators. Here, we show that the surface potential of PMMA fibers produced by electrospinning can be tailored through the polarity of the voltage used during the fabrication process, thereby improving its triboelectric performance, as compared to typically spin-coated PMMA films. The change in surface chemistry of the electrospun PMMA fibers is verified using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and this is directly correlated to the changes in surface potential observed by Kelvin probe force microscopy. We demonstrate the enhancement of triboelectric energy harvesting capability of the electrospun PMMA fibers, suggesting that this surface potential modification approach can be more widely applied to other materials as well, for improved triboelectric performance.



Triboelectric generator, Electrospinning, Poly(methyl methacrylate), Surface chemistry, Kelvin probe force microscopy, Energy harvesting

Journal Title

Nano Energy

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Elsevier BV
European Research Council (639526)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/G037221/1)
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