Brennan Coulter
Jul 9, 2012

Electricity from Friction

Friction is everywhere, and with the help of Georgia Tech researchers we are now a step closer to tapping into it for our electricity needs. While the principle of producing charge with friction is well know, the technique the researchers employ with their “triboelectric” generator is the first to create a usable high current flow for it’s size. The triboelectric generator operates when a sheet of polyester is rubbed against a sheet of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The polyester tends to lose electrons while the PDMS accepts. If a load is then connected between the two surfaces a small current of flow will equalize charge potential. By continually rubbing the surfaces together then separating them the generator can provide a small .13 microamp alternating current at 18 volts. The generators can last over 100,000 cycles of operation and could be used in next generation touch interfaces as they are almost completely transparent, but really the applications are limitless.