A Self-Powered and Low Pressure Loss Gas Flowmeter Based on Fluid-Elastic Flutter Driven Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Phan, Trung K., Song Wang, Yan Wang, He Wang, Xiu Xiao, Xinxiang Pan, Minyi Xu, and Jianchun Mi; Sensors 20, no. 3: 729.


A self-powered and low pressure loss gas flowmeter is presently proposed and developed based on a membrane’s flutter driven triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG). Such a flowmeter, herein named “TENG flowmeter”, is made of a circular pipe in which two copper electrodes are symmetrically fixed and a nonconductive, thin membrane is placed in the middle plane of the pipe. When a gas flows through the pipe at a sufficiently high speed, the membrane will continuously oscillate between the two electrodes, generating a periodically fluctuating electric voltage whose frequency can be easily measured. As demonstrated experimentally, the fluctuation frequency (fF) relates linearly with the pipe flow mean velocity (Um), i.e., fF ∝ Um; therefore, the volume flow rate Q (=Um × A) = C1fF + C2, where C1 and C2 are experimental constants and A is the pipe cross-sectional area. That is, by the TENG flowmeter, the pipe flow rate Q can be obtained by measuring the frequency fF. Notably, the TENG flowmeter has several advantages over some commercial flowmeters (e.g., vortex flowmeter), such as considerable lower pressure loss, higher sensitiveness of the measured flow rate, and self-powering. In addition, the effects of membrane material and geometry as well as flow moisture on the flowmeter are investigated. Finally, the performance of the TENG flowmeter is demonstrated.