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Energy harvesting, Triboelectric, Piezoelectric composite, Instrumented knee implant, Silicone rubber, Biomedical sensor


A self-powered and durable pressure sensor for large-scale pressure detection on the knee implant would be highly advantageous for designing long- lasting and reliable knee implants as well as obtaining information about knee function after the operation. The purpose of this study is to develop a robust energy harvester that can convert wide ranges of pressure to electricity to power a load sensor inside the knee implant. To efficiently convert loads to electricity, we design a cuboid-array-structured tribo-pizoelectric nanogenerator (TPENG) in vertical contact mode inside a knee implant package. The proposed TPENG is fabricated with aluminum and cuboid-patterned silicone rubber layers. Using the cuboid-patterned silicone rubber as a dielectric and aluminum as electrodes improves performance compared with previously reported self-powered sensors. The combination of 10 wt% dopamine-modified BaT iO3 piezoelectric nanoparticles in the silicone rubber enhanced electrical stability and mechanical durability of the silicone rubber. To examine the output, the package-harvester assemblies are loaded into an MTS machine under different periodic loading. Under different cyclic loading, frequencies, and resistance loads, the harvester’s output performance is also theoretically studied and experimentally verified. The proposed cuboid-array-structured TPENG integrated into the knee implant package can generate approximately 15 μW of apparent power under dynamic compressive loading of 2200 N magnitude. In addition, as a result of the TPENG’s materials being effectively optimized, it possesses remarkable mechanical durability and signal stability, functioning after more than 30,000 cycles under 2200 N load and producing about 300 V peak to peak. We have also presented a mathematical model and numerical results that closely capture experimental results. We have reported how the TPENG charge density varies with force. This study represents a significant advancement in a better understanding of harvesting mechanical energy for instrumented knee implants to detect a load imbalance or abnormal gait patterns.

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This is the version of the article before peer review or editing, as submitted by an author to Smart Materials and Structures.  IOP Publishing Ltd is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it.  The Version of Record will be online soon.

Available for download on Thursday, May 01, 2025