Pressure-driven ballistic Kelvin's water dropper for energy harvesting

Yanbo Xie, Hans L. de Boer, Albert van den Berg, A.J. Sprenkels, Jan C.T. Eijkel

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    9 Citations (Scopus)
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    In this paper, we introduce a microfluidic-based self-excited energy conversion system inspired by Kelvin's water dropper but driven by inertia instead of gravity. Two micro water jets are produced by forcing water through two micropores by overpressure. The jets break up into microdroplets which are inductively charged by electrostatic gates. The droplets land on metal targets which are gradually charged up to high voltages. Targets and electrostatic gates are cross-connected in a way similar to Kelvin's water dropper. Application of pressure as driving force instead of gravity as in Kelvin's dropper allows for much higher energy densities. To prevent overcharging of the droplets by the inductive mechanism and consequent droplet loss by repulsion from the target as in Kelvin's water dropper, a voltage divider using inversely connected diodes was introduced in our system to control the charge induction providing self-limiting positive feedback by the diode characteristics. A maximal 18% energy conversion efficiency was obtained with the diode-gated system.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)4171-4177
    Number of pages7
    JournalLab on a chip
    Issue number21
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2014


    • EWI-25198
    • IR-92314
    • METIS-306075

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