Theoretical investigations of energy harvesting efficiency from structural vibrations using piezoelectric and electromagnetic oscillators
Harne, Ryan L.
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Conversion of ambient vibrational energy into electric power has been the impetus of much modern research. The traditional analysis has focused on absolute electrical power output from the harvesting devices and efficiency defined as the convertibility of an infinite resource of vibration excitation into power. This perspective has limited extensibility when applying resonant harvesters to host resonant structures when the inertial influence of the harvester is more significant. Instead, this work pursues a fundamental understanding of the coupled dynamics of a main mass-spring-damper system to which an electromagnetic or piezoelectric mass-spring-damper is attached. The governing equations are derived, a metric of efficiency is presented, and analysis is undertaken. It is found that electromagnetic energy harvesting efficiency and maximum power output is limited by the strength of the coupling such that no split system resonances are induced for a given mass ratio. For piezoelectric harvesters, only the coupling strength and certain design requirements dictate maximum power and efficiency achievable. Since the harvesting circuitry must "follow" the split resonances as the piezoelectric harvesters become more massive, the optimum design of piezoelectric harvesters appears to be more involved than for electromagnetic devices. (C) 2012 Acoustical Society of America. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4725765]