Clean energy is required to ensure global prosperity and economic growth. Increased industrialization is expected to increase energy demand by 50% by 2035. This will result in increased air pollution. Carbon dioxide emissions have been linked to global warming and other pollution related problems. These emissions can be reduced by recapturing the waste energy in the form of heat, vibration, and friction.

Common applications like transportation can lose as much as 78% of the energy they generate. Energy harvesters can be used to recapture energy lost through vibration, heat, etc. This recaptured energy will be reused and hence, we don’t need to produce as much energy using traditional methods. Equipment with low power needs such as sensors can use this recaptured energy and hence, the need for external battery or energy source will be minimized.

This investigation will focus on the effects of chemical composition on the electromechanical properties of the gel beads.

Electrostatic energy harvesters consist of a proof mass that translates or deforms relative to an electrode array. When an electrical field is applied, this causes a change in capacitance which drives a current through a load resistance to generate power.

Ionic liquid polymers have been used in dye-sensitized solar cell energy harvesters. This work will examine whether the flexibility offered by Polymeric Ionic liquid (PIL) gel beads could be leveraged in other energy harvesting devices. To that end, this investigation works to examine the effect of the chemical composition of PIL beads on electromechanical properties. This will be accomplished using:

1. Microfluidic fabrication of conductive gel beads

2. Experimental testing of electromechanical properties of the beads

3. Metallization of IL resins and IL gel beads fabricated from the microreactor.

4. Optimization of those properties through a chemical understanding of the components required for use in electrostatic energy harvesters.

The IL beads are fabricated and tested for electromechanical properties to study the effects of the percentage of IL present in the chemical composition of the monomer solution. As the IL proportion was decreased, the gel beads had stronger physical properties such as stiffness but poor conductivity. To improve their conductivity, these IL gel beads were metallized with a gold salt solution. In metallization process, Cl- ions of the IL were replaced by gold AuCL4- ions which were subsequently reduced to Auo with the agency of Hydrazine. The metallization process resulted in significant increase in conductivity of the IL gel beads.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Polymer colloids--Electric properties; Polymer colloids--Mechanical properties

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Michael Schertzer

Advisor/Committee Member

Thomas Smith

Advisor/Committee Member

Patricia Iglesias Victoria


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at QD549.2.P64 K84 2016


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes