Nonlinear Dynamics

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 545–558 | Cite as

Potential benefits of a non-linear stiffness in an energy harvesting device

  • R. Ramlan
  • M. J. Brennan
  • B. R. Mace
  • I. Kovacic
Original Paper


The benefits of using a non-linear stiffness in an energy harvesting device comprising a mass–spring–damper system are investigated. Analysis based on the principle of conservation of energy reveals a fundamental limit of the effectiveness of any non-linear device over a tuned linear device for such an application. Two types of non-linear stiffness are considered. The first system has a non-linear bi-stable snap-through mechanism. This mechanism has the effect of steepening the displacement response of the mass as a function of time, resulting in a higher velocity for a given input excitation. Numerical results show that more power is harvested by the mechanism if the excitation frequency is much less than the natural frequency. The other non-linear system studied has a hardening spring, which has the effect of shifting the resonance frequency. Numerical and analytical studies show that the device with a hardening spring has a larger bandwidth over which the power can be harvested due to the shift in the resonance frequency.


Energy harvesting Snap-through Hardening Negative stiffness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Ramlan
    • 1
  • M. J. Brennan
    • 1
  • B. R. Mace
    • 1
  • I. Kovacic
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Sound and Vibration ResearchUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Department of Mechanics, Faculty of Technical SciencesUniversity of Novi SadNovi SadSerbia

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