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Introducing arc-shaped piezoelectric elements into energy harvesters

Yang, Zhengbao, Wang, Yan Qing, Zuo, Lei, Zu, Jean
Energy conversion and management 2017 v.148 pp. 260-266
electronic equipment, energy, finite element analysis, harvesters, models, prototypes
Piezoelectric energy harvesting is envisioned as an ideal complement to batteries for long-life operation of wireless or remote electronic devices. Most piezoelectric energy harvesters (PEHs) utilize piezoelectric plates or discs as the energy transducing elements, and they cannot generate enough power for most potential applications. In this study, we explore a new way of using arc-shaped piezoelectric patches as the core transducing elements in energy harvesters to improve their performance. An analytical model is developed via the Castigliano’s theorem to elucidate the low stiffness characteristic of the arc-shaped structure. A finite element analysis is conducted, and the results indicate that high and evenly-distributed stress can be easily induced in the arc-shaped PEHs. Prototypes are fabricated with arc-shaped piezoelectric elements and flat piezoelectric plates, respectively, and tested under the same conditions. The experimental data demonstrate that the arc-shaped PEHs are capable of generating 2.55–4.25 times as much power as the equivalent flat-plate PEHs. This study lays the foundation to enhance energy harvester performance by utilizing arc-shaped piezoelectric structures.