Design, Modeling and Control of Vibration Systems with Electromagnetic Energy Harvesters and their Application to Vehicle Suspensions

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

Instead of dissipating vibration energy into heat waste via viscous damping elements, this dissertation proposes an innovative vibration control method which can simultaneously mitigate vibration and harvest the associated vibration energy using electromagnetic energy harvesters. This dissertation shows that the electromagnetic energy harvester can work as a controllable damper as well as an energy harvester. The semi-active control of a linear electromagnetic energy harvester, for improvement of suspension performance, has been experimentally implemented in a scaled-down quarter-car suspension system. While improving performance, power produced by the harvester can be harvested through energy harvesting circuits.

This dissertation also proposes a mechanical-motion-rectifier(MMR)-based electromagnetic energy harvester using a ball-screw mechanism and two one-way clutches for the application of replacing the viscous damper in vehicle suspensions. Compared to commercial linear harvesters, the proposed design is able to provide large damping forces and increase power-dissipation density, making it suitable to vehicle suspensions. In addition, the proposed MMR-based harvester can convert reciprocating vibration into unidirectional rotation of the generator. This feature significantly increases energy-harvesting efficiency by enabling the generator to rotate at a relatively steady speed during irregular vibrations and improves the system reliability by reducing impact forces among transmission gears. Extensive theoretical and experimental analysis have been conducted to characterize the proposed MMR-based energy harvester. The coupled dynamics of the suspension system with the MMR-based energy harvester are also explored and optimized. Furthermore, a new control algorithm is proposed to control the MMR-based energy harvester considering its unique dynamics induced by the one-way clutches. The results show that the controlled proposed electromagnetic energy harvester can possibly improve ride comfort of vehicles over conventional oil dampers and simultaneously harvest the associated vibration energy.

Vibration control, Semi-active suspension control, Energy harvesting, Electromagnetic damper, Mechanical motion rectifier