Wind Energy Harvesting with Vertically Aligned Piezoelectric Inverted Flags

Kaidong Yang, Andrea Cioncolini*, Alistair Revell, Mostafa R.A. Nabawy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wind-energy-harvesting generators based on inverted flag architecture are an attractive option to replace batteries in low-power wireless electronic devices and deploy-and-forget distributed sensors. This study examines two important aspects that have been overlooked in previous research: the interaction between an inverted flag and a neighboring solid boundary and the interaction among multiple contiguous inverted flags arranged in a vertical row. Systematic tests have been carried out with metal-only ‘baseline’ flags as well as a ‘harvester’ variant, i.e., the baseline metal flag covered with PVDF (polyvinylidene difluoride) piezoelectric polymer elements. In each case, dynamic response and power generation were measured and assessed. For baseline metal flags, the same qualitative trend is observed when the flag approaches an obstacle, whether this is a wall or another flag. As the gap distance reduces, the wind speed range at which flapping occurs gradually shrinks and shifts towards lower velocities. The increased damping introduced by attaching PVDF elements to the baseline metal flags led to a considerable narrowing of the flapping wind speed range, and the wall-to-flag or flag-to-flag interaction led to a power reduction of up to one order of magnitude compared to single flags. The present findings highlight the strong dependence of the power output on the flapping frequency, which decreases when the flag approaches a wall or other flags mounted onto the same pole. Minimum flag-to-flag and flag-to-wall spacing values are suggested for practical applications to avoid power reduction in multi-flag arrangements (2-3H and 1-2H respectively, where H is flag height).

Original languageEnglish
Article number9673
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • experiments
  • interaction effects
  • multiple flags
  • piezoelectric harvester
  • wall effects
  • wind energy


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