Shape memory polymer-based self-healing triboelectric nanogenerator†
Recently, triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) have received increasing interest due to their large potential for mechanical energy harvesting. Important progress has been achieved in increasing the output power and efficiency while new structures have emerged. In particular, their robustness and endurance have increased, but some critical concerns still remain about the degradation and lifetime of TENGs. How will TENGs age under intensive use in our daily lives? To address this issue, we propose in this paper to use shape memory polymers (SMPs) to extend TENGs’ lifetimes and guarantee their performance. For this purpose we introduce a new smart SMP-based self-healing TENG which has the capacity to be healed and to recover good performance after degradation of its triboelectric layer. We studied the degradation and healing process of the SMP–TENG, and the improvement in its endurance and lifetime, and thus demonstrate the huge potential of self-healing SMP–TENGs.