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Polymers 2017, 9(10), 479; doi:10.3390/polym9100479

Biocompatible Silk/Polymer Energy Harvesters Using Stretched Poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) Nanofibers

Mechanical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
Communication Engineering, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou 310018, China
Biomedical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
Physics and Astronomy, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Biopolymer)
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Energy harvested from human body movement can produce continuous, stable energy to portable electronics and implanted medical devices. The energy harvesters need to be light, small, inexpensive, and highly portable. Here we report a novel biocompatible device made of poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) nanofibers on flexible substrates. The nanofibers are prepared with electrospinning followed by a stretching process. This results in aligned nanofibers with diameter control. The assembled device demonstrates high mechanical-to-electrical conversion performance, with stretched PVDF-HFP nanofibers outperforming regular electrospun samples by more than 10 times. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) reveals that the stretched nanofibers have a higher β phase content, which is the critical polymorph that enables piezoelectricity in polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is initially selected as the substrate material for its low cost, high flexibility, and rapid prototyping capability. Bombyx Mori silkworm silk fibroin (SF) and its composites are investigated as promising alternatives due to their high strength, toughness, and biocompatibility. A composite of silk with 20% glycerol demonstrates higher strength and larger ultimate strain than PDMS. With the integration of stretched electrospun PVDF-HFP nanofibers and flexible substrates, this pilot study shows a new pathway for the fabrication of biocompatible, skin-mountable energy devices. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy harvester; polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF); silk; piezoelectricity; electrospinning; stretching energy harvester; polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF); silk; piezoelectricity; electrospinning; stretching

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Najjar, R.; Luo, Y.; Jao, D.; Brennan, D.; Xue, Y.; Beachley, V.; Hu, X.; Xue, W. Biocompatible Silk/Polymer Energy Harvesters Using Stretched Poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) Nanofibers. Polymers 2017, 9, 479.

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