Controlling the Kinetics of Contact Electrification with Patterned Surfaces

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Thomas, S.W., Vella, S.J., Dickey, M.D., Kaufman, G.K., and Whitesides, G.M., Journal of American Chemical Society, 2009, 131, 8746-8747

Summary

Tribocharging, i.e. the charging of surfaces brought in contact due to the exchange of ions between the materials they enclose, is a ubiquitous problem frequently associated with spark generation when the surfaces accumulated enough charge to discharge. The authors present a potential solution to the problem which was inspired by the observation that surfaces which contain ionic functional groups tend to accumulate the same charge as that of their less mobile ion. Hence, the proposed solution is based on the creation on a surface of oppositely charged functionalized patches, so that when another surface contacts the treated surface it acquires a much smaller net charge.

Experimental Details

The experimental system consisted of a glass surface, which acquires negative charges with friction, partially functionalized with N-trimethoxylsilylpropyl-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride which acquires positive charges.