In the present paper, we report a systematic investigation of planform geometry and excitation level effects on the dynamics and power generation characteristics of polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF)-based cantilevered vibration energy harvesters. Piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters provide a promising energy harvesting solution for widespread use of wireless sensors in remote locations. Highly flexible PVDF polymers offer resonant frequencies at suitable range for harvesting mechanical energy within low-frequency applications, though information on the efficient sizing of these devices is currently limited. We test the response of a set of eight harvesters to typical vibration sources excitation levels in the range 0.2–0.6 g. This set comprises four widths and two lengths, incrementing each time by a factor of two. The selected range of dimensions is sufficient to identify optimal power output versus width for both lengths tested. This optimal width value depends on excitation amplitude in such a way that narrower harvesters are more suited for small excitations, whereas wider harvesters perform better upon experiencing large excitations. Non-linear effects present in longer harvesters are demonstrated to significantly reduce performance, which motivates the selection of planform dimensions inside the linear range. Finally, we explore the correlation of performance with various geometric quantities in order to inform future design studies and highlight the value of using the second moment of planform area to measure harvester efficiency in terms of power density. This points towards the use of harvesters with non-rectangular planform area for optimal performance.
- Energy harvesting