Triboelectric Technology

The History

The triboelectric effect is a fundamental physics principle. Particles passing by or impacting a sensitive probe create a minuscule electrical charge - AC and DC respectively.

The development of triboelectric instruments for emissions monitoring and process control applications dates to the late 70s when Auburn systems refined the controls required to process these tiny signals and developed commercial versions of devices to monitor resin pellet pneumatic conveyors for blockages and emissions particulate.

The sensitivity of triboelectric offered vast improvements over optical solutions which tend to only detect levels of emissions >10%. USEPA saw the opportunity to improve emissions controls and formalized the regulatory use of triboelectric for the first time with the secondary lead smelting MACT in 1995.

Continuous improvements in controls over the past two decades have both improved accuracy and durability, and simplified the implementation of triboelectric detection. While some myths persist, today's systems no longer require calibration nor are they subject to the adjustment complications known in early systems.

It's proven, reliable and very accurate instrumentation for a variety of today's manufacturing requirements.

triboelectric particle detection technology is built on the triboelectric effect

The Technology

The latest generations of triboelectric instruments incorporate both AC & DC signal processing. This is an important advance which allows companies to select devices for applications without regard to AC or DC specific systems and patents.

Networked instruments, combined with centralized monitoring, alarms, data logging and reporting have simultaneously reduced the administrative burden of environmental compliance while increasing accuracy.


Auburn applications for triboelectric detectors.jpgTriboelectric instruments are used in a number of applications within factories - and often fall under different areas of responsibility including EHS, maintenance, and process engineering.

Common applications include:

  • Continuous monitoring of industrial dust collection systems
  • Predictive monitoring and rapid leak detection within baghouses
  • Monitoring particle velocity in ducts and pneumatic conveyor systems.

This illustration highlights the numerous applications and use cases throughout a facility. Read more about applications here.

Selecting the best detector for your application depends on a number of details. We offer a free downloadable guide "15 Tips for Selecting the Best Bag Leak Detection Systems" which may be helpful as you compare manufacturers and solutions.

Comparing Bag Leak Detection Systems? Download our free guide with 15 tips