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Analyses of power output of piezoelectric energy-harvesting devices directly connected to a load resistor using a coupled piezoelectric-circuit finite element method

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3 Author(s)
Meiling Zhu ; Dept. of Mater., Cranfield Univ., Cranfield ; Worthington, E. ; Njuguna, J.

This paper presents, for the first time, a coupled piezoelectric-circuit finite element model (CPC-FEM) to analyze the power output of a vibration-based piezoelectric energy-harvesting device (EHD) when it is connected to a load resistor. Special focus is given to the effect of the load resistor value on the vibrational amplitude of the piezoelectric EHD, and thus on the current, voltage, and power generated by the device, which are normally assumed to be independent of the load resistor value to reduce the complexity of modeling and simulation. The presented CPC-FEM uses a cantilever with a sandwich structure and a seismic mass attached to the tip to study the following characteristics of the EHD as a result of changing the load resistor value: 1) the electric outputs: the current through and voltage across the load resistor; 2) the power dissipated by the load resistor; 3) the displacement amplitude of the tip of the cantilever; and 4) the shift in the resonant frequency of the device. It is found that these characteristics of the EHD have a significant dependence on the load resistor value, rather than being independent of it as is assumed in most literature. The CPC-FEM is capable of predicting the generated output power of the EHD with different load resistor values while simultaneously calculating the effect of the load resistor value on the displacement amplitude of the tip of the cantilever. This makes the CPC-FEM invaluable for validating the performance of a designed EHD before it is fabricated and tested, thereby reducing the recurring costs associated with repeat fabrication and trials. In addition, the proposed CPC-FEM can also be used for producing an optimized design for maximum power output.

Published in:

Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 7 )