Polymer-nanoparticle composite foams for energy harvesting applications

Joseph R. Nalbach, Matthew S. Schwenger, Zachary M. Koleszar, Kelly Greiser, David Ozalas, Taissa Michel, Craig Bovenzi, Wei Xue

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Throughout the course of one day, the human body goes through numerous mechanical activities. These activities, while usually not very powerful individually, produce an ample amount of energy collectively. This mechanical energy can be harvested into electrical energy via piezoelectricity. Recent research into piezoelectric nanocomposites has yielded techniques to foam the materials into softer, porous structures more suitable for human comfort. This study focuses on using a host polymer polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and citric acid to create foams. Citric acid, a common industrial chemical blowing agent (CBA), is used in this project due to its capabilities to produce foams with consistent pore sizes and distribution. These foams, coupled with piezoelectric nanoparticles, are fabricated, analyze, and tested. They are mechanically characterized using tensile testing. Electrical characterization is carried out using an integrated mechanical-electrical testing setup. These foams are lighter, softer, and can produce higher electrical output than nonporous counterparts. We believe that these foams have great potential in upcoming piezoelectric technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicro- and Nano-Systems Engineering and Packaging
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791858455
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2017 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Nov 3 2017Nov 9 2017

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE)


OtherASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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