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We propose a micro energy-harvesting device, using an iron-gallium alloy (Galfenol), capable of generating electrical energy from ambient vibrations. Galfenol is a ductile magnetostrictive material with a high piezomagnetic constant, good machinability, and a large inverse magnetostrictive effect by which magnetization can be varied by mechanical stress. The device consists of two beams of Galfenol combined with iron yokes, coils, and a bias magnet. A bending force applied at the tip of the cantilever yields a flux increase by tensile stress in one beam, and a flux decreases in the other by compression. The time variation of the flux generates a voltage on the wound coils. This energy harvester has advantages over conventional types of device, such as those using piezoelectric materials, with respect to size, and efficiency, and it has high robustness and low electrical impedance. In addition, the structure needs only a low mechanical force to generate electricity. In this paper, the free vibration characteristic to accrue electric energy effectively is examined. From the experimental results, the energy conversion efficiency in the vibration is inverse proportional to the resonant frequency.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2011