Chung-Ang University researchers bring sensors to life with multi-purpose gas masks


Seoul, South Korea, August 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — With the onset of the Internet of Things (IoT) era, devices have learned to communicate and exchange data. This is achieved through sensors installed in physical objects, machines and equipment, which detect changes in events. However, the need for a continuous power supply to these sensors poses a challenge. Batteries are bulky, expensive, environmentally unfriendly and need to be constantly replaced or recharged.

Therefore, there is a demand for sustainable and renewable energy sources to replace batteries. The triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) is one such device. Simply put, TENGs convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Their high energy efficiency, compatibility with readily available materials, and low cost make them a promising candidate for sensor power supplies.

Unfortunately, current TENGs are limited by low output current. But increasing the output current requires larger equipment, which makes it impossible to implement in small devices. Is there a way around this compromise?

Fortunately, a research team led by Associate Professor Sangmin Lee from Chung-Ang University in Korea, has now looked into this question. “Our lab is interested in high-power TENG design and self-powered sensors based on TENG. We sought to address the limitation of current TENGs so that they could be used to realize portable power sources in the practice”, says Dr. Lee, explaining his motivation behind the study, which was Posted in Advanced Energy Materials. The study will be featured on the cover of the next issue.

The team developed a new device called an inhalation-driven vertical flutter TENG (IVF-TENG) that features an amplified current output. “The breath acts as a continuous mechanical input and can be used to operate TENGs. Film-floating TENGs are such breath-driven devices that can generate a continuous electrical output from an extremely low respiratory input by exploiting the phenomenon of flutter resulting from vibrations induced by the airflow.”, explains Dr. Lee.

The IVF-TENG consists of an aluminum (Al) input electrode, an aeroelastic dielectric sheet and an Al output electrode. The aeroelastic sheet is subject to vertical flutter behavior caused by airflow. This makes the proposed IVF-TENG different from existing TENGs.

The team studied the electrical and mechanical mechanisms of IVF-TENG, which generated a high-frequency (17 V) DC electrical voltage and a closed-circuit current of 1.84 μA during inhalation, and a voltage of 456 V electrostatic discharge and closed-circuit current output of 288 mA at the start and end of each inspiratory cycle.

They further demonstrated that IVF-TENG can continuously power 130 LEDs in series and 140 LEDs in parallel with each inhalation. Additionally, it could charge a 660 𝜇F capacitor to power a Bluetooth tracker. These properties demonstrated the suitability of IVF-TENG for application in portable electronics and wireless data transmission.

Additionally, researchers integrated IVF-TENG into a gas mask and demonstrated its ability to monitor the user’s breathing pattern by observing the output response waveform. Additionally, it detected chemical warfare agents like cyanogen chloride, sarin, and dimethyl methylphosphonate, showing its potential for emergency use. “Since gas masks are widely used in emergency situations such as fires and exposure to chemical gases, we focused on applying TENG to a gas mask. We believe that IVF -TENG can be used as a self-powered sensor in such scenarios”, Dr. Lee speculates.

Indeed, their invention could lead the TENGs to reinvent gas masks in the near future!


Title of the original article: Inhalation-driven vertical flutter triboelectric nanogenerator with amplified output as a self-powered multifunctional system integrated into the gas mask

Log: Advanced Energy Materials


E-mail of the corresponding authors: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

About the Associate Professor
Sangmin Lee

Read more about Professor Lee here:

Media Contact:
Seong Kee Shin
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SOURCE Chung-Ang University


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