Development of Multiple Cantilevered Piezo Fibre Composite Beams Vibration Energy Harvester for Wireless Sensors

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Abstract

There is considerable interest in the development of battery-free mobile electronics systems such as wireless sensors which are used for the conditioning monitoring of engineering assets some of which are located in hostile environments. The main focus has been on the development of techniques for the harvesting of energy from ambient sources. One of the main sources of ambient energy is mechanical vibration. A number of vibration energy harvesting devices have been developed using electromagnetic, electrostatic or piezoelectric principles. A currently favoured approach is the use of piezoelectric fibre composite (PFC) materials in the form of a cantilevered beam with a tip mass. This enables significant energy to be harvested at the resonance peak of the PFC-mass vibration system. However, off the resonance peak, the harvested vibration energy is relatively too small and, consequently, the bandwidth of reasonable energy harvesting is too small. To overcome this problem, this paper presents the use of a vibration energy harvesting device consisting of four PFC beams with tip masses. Each beam is tuned to a slightly different resonance frequency. Thus, the bandwidth of significant vibration energy harvesting is considerably extended. It is shown that the multiple cantilevered PFC beams vibration energy harvester can harvest energy from ambient vibrations more effectively than a single cantilevered PFC beam vibration energy harvester.