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Expanding the portfolio of tribo-positive materials: aniline formaldehyde condensates for high charge density triboelectric nanogenerators

Zhao, Pengfei; Soin, Navneet; Kumar, Amit; Shi, Lin; Guan, Shaoliang; Tsonos, Christos; Yu, Zidong; Ray, Sekhar Chandra; McLaughlin, James A.; Zhu, Zhigang; Zhou, Erping; Geng, Junfeng; See, Chan H.; Luo, Jikui


Pengfei Zhao

Navneet Soin

Amit Kumar

Lin Shi

Shaoliang Guan

Christos Tsonos

Zidong Yu

Sekhar Chandra Ray

James A. McLaughlin

Zhigang Zhu

Erping Zhou

Junfeng Geng

Jikui Luo


The rapid uptake of energy harvesting triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) for self-powered electronics requires the development of high-performance tribo-materials capable of providing large power outputs. This work reports on the synthesis and use of aniline formaldehyde resin (AFR) for energy-harvesting applications. The facile, acidic-medium reaction between aniline and formaldehyde produces the aniline-formaldehyde condensate, which upon an in-vacuo high temperature curing step provides smooth AFR films with abundant nitrogen and oxygen surface functional groups which can acquire a tribo-positive charge and thus endow AFR with a significantly higher positive tribo-polarity than the existing state-of-art polyamide-6 (PA6). A TENG comprising of optimized thin-layered AFR against a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) film produced a peak-to-peak voltage of up to ~1,000 V, a current density of ~65 mA m⁻², a transferred charge density of ~200 μC m⁻² and an instantaneous power output (energy pulse) of ~11 W m⁻² (28.1 μJ cycle⁻¹), respectively. The suitability of AFR was further supported through the Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) measurements, which reveal a significantly higher average surface potential value of 1.147 V for AFR as compared to 0.87 V for PA6 and a step-by-step increase of the surface potential with the increase of energy generation cycles. The work not only proposes a novel and scalable mouldable AFR synthesis process but also expands with excellent prospects, the current portfolio of tribo-positive materials for triboelectric energy harvesting applications.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 9, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2019
Publication Date 2020-01
Deposit Date Nov 12, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2020
Journal Nano Energy
Print ISSN 2211-2855
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 67
Article Number 104291
Keywords Aniline formaldehyde resins; tribo-positive polymers; triboelectric nanogenerators; surface potential; KPFM
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