Author ORCID Identifier

Shahrzad Towfighian -

Document Type


Publication Date



bistability, triboelectricity, shock sensing, dynamic response, impact, buckling, threshold shock, numerical simulation, experimental results


A proof of concept of a triboelectric threshold shock sensor and its characterization are presented. Shock sensors are used in many applications in the automotive, shipping and other industries, mainly to determine if acceleration thresholds are met. Many shock sensors are only mechanical, so the only way to know if the threshold has been reached is to physically check the device. There are noticeable advantages of using triboelectric transduction and bi-stability to create a shock sensor. By combining a buckled-beam structure and a triboelectric generator, we created a proof of concept of a tunable threshold shock sensor. The sensor generates a voltage peak only if the base acceleration is beyond a threshold. In addition, the sensor produces voltage proportional to the base acceleration beyond the threshold acceleration. This means the output signal provides more information about the strength of the shock that the device experiences. The sensor concept is illustrated for a threshold shock of 3.26g, but the threshold can be tuned by increasing the compressive axial force of the buckled beam. Increasing this axial force increases the threshold shock the sensor can detect. Thus, the combined system is a tunable threshold shock sensor with enhanced functionality. We presented a mathematical model that captures important observations of the experiments and can be used as a design tool for more precise, high-resolution triboelectric shock sensors.

Publisher Attribution

Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, published by Elsevier -

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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