Triboelectric smart machine elements and self-powered encoder

Majid Taghavi*, Ali Sadeghi, Alessio Mondini, Barbara Mazzolai, Lucia Beccai, Virgilio Mattoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


A new concept for recovering a part of wasted energy caused by friction in typical mechanical components is introduced. Triboelectric charge generation on movable surfaces is the principle used for conducting electrons through external loads. The concept is evaluated by development and study of three versatile elements, including a bearing, gears and belt-pulley systems. Moreover, the first self-sufficient encoder, which is entirely powered by the energy captured by triboelectricity, is presented. Indeed, the capability of using introduced ad hoc modifications on the structure of machine elements is illustrated for measuring and displaying the rotational speed of a belt-pulley system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalNano Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Bearing
  • Belt-pulley
  • Gears
  • Self-powered encoder
  • Smart machine element
  • Triboelectric sensor


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