Experimental validation of a distributed parameter piezoelectric bimorph cantilever energy harvester

S. Rafique, P. Bonello

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    Recent rapid advances in low-power portable electronic applications have motivated researchers and industry to explore schemes to embed an endless power supply mechanism within these systems. These self-charging embedded power supply systems convert ambient energy (vibration, solar, wind, etc) into electrical energy and subsequently provide power to these portable applications. Ambient vibration is one of the most promising sources of energy as it is abundantly present in indoor/outdoor systems. This paper discusses briefly the mathematical model of a bimorph piezoelectric cantilever beam with distributed inertia, and its experimental validation. Research on such a component typically included a tip mass, which reduced the influence of the distributed inertia of the beam and restricted effective operation to low frequencies. The present work excludes the tip mass and only the distributed mass of the harvester is considered. Due to the coupled electromechanical nature of piezoelectric materials, the effects of electrical coupling on the mechanical properties of the harvester are investigated, particularly the dependence of the induced additional stiffness and damping on the electrical load. Both the model and the experimental results show that the resonance frequency and the response amplitude of the harvester exhibit considerable shifts due to the electrical coupling. The experimental work uses both magnitude and Nyquist plots of the electromechanical frequency response functions to thoroughly validate the accuracy and applicability of the distributed parameter model at higher frequencies than previously considered. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number094008
    JournalSmart Materials and Structures
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


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