Long-term power degradation testing of piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters for low-frequency applications

Jacob Hirst, Jie Wang, Mostafa R.A. Nabawy, Andrea Cioncolini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Piezoelectric energy harvesters represent a viable and well-proven solution to convert ambient vibrations into useful electric power within a number of modern life applications. Whilst a large amount of studies has focused on improving power output from these devices, relatively little research has been directed to investigate how these devices degrade over time and the effect this has on longterm power generation. This paper, therefore, aims to experimentally investigate how piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters degrade during long-term operation in realistic harvesting conditions. The harvesters tested are unimorph cantilevers based on three of the most commonly used piezoelectric options: Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), Macro Fiber Composite (MFC), and Quick Pack (QP). Testing was carried out under single-frequency excitation (10-40 Hz) of 1g amplitude for three million vibration cycles. Our results show that the natural frequency and the optimum load resistance of the harvesters may vary during prolonged operation. Importantly, a larger cumulative variation in natural frequency and optimum load resistance yields a larger variation in power output, thereby linking the variation in power to the variation of the mechanical and/or electrical properties of the harvesters. Comparing the average power values over the testing period we found that increasing the tip mass does not necessarily improve the average power output, suggesting that a larger tip mass may exacerbate the degradation of the mechanical and/or electrical properties of the harvester. This was particularly evident for the stiffest QP harvesters which showed the highest signs of power degradation; nevertheless, QPharvesters still managed to demonstrate the highest power density values. When cost consideration is taken into account in the assessment, PVDF harvesters managed to demonstrate the highest power density to cost ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035026
JournalEngineering Research Express
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Degradation
  • Energy harvesting
  • Macro fibre composite
  • PVDF
  • Piezoelectric
  • Quick pack

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