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Theme 5: Energy

Subject 1: Low-frequency Ultra-wide Bandwidth Piezoelectric Energy Harvester


Introduction
Recently, research on vibration energy harvesting (VEH) has attracted tremendous attention as green energy becomes a hot issue. In the vibration harvesting research field, there has been rapid surge in the development of piezoelectric energy harvester (PEH) since piezoelectric transducer has a very high theoretical and practical energy density as compared to the other VEH systems such as electromagnetic and electrostatic harvesters. Most of prior PEH structures utilize the bending strain of cantilever beams at resonance condition to generate electrical power. However, the magnitude of bending strain of the cantilever is very small inevitably resulting in much smaller power output than the theoretical power value of PEH. Moreover, resonance frequency of conventional PEH is usually very high and its bandwidth is too narrow both of which prevent the application of PEH in real world where diversity of vibration frequency is substantial. Therefore, new approaches for designing PEH structure are required to overcome technical problems mentioned above. The design exploration of PEH structure with various scales (macro, micro and nano) will be obligatory along with investigations on corresponding elastic characteristics at resonance and off-resonance condition.

Scope
Study on the relationship between stress/strain distribution of PEH and power generation performance with respect to the structure of transducer Study on the effect of linear and non-linear elastic characteristics (e.g. elastic stiffness and/or strain) on the frequency and acceleration characteristics of PEH structure Design and simulation of new type PEH structure to lower the resonance frequency and widen its bandwidth Fabrication and integration of high power density PEHs in sense of cost

Research questions
To realize high power low-frequency ultra-wide bandwidth PEHs, followings should be addressed. How we can improve the efficiency of stress transfer to increase power level of PEH. What the strategy is to lower the natural frequency and widen its bandwidth with/without size-scaling of the PEH structure. How the linear and non-linear stiffness and/or strain affect the resonance frequency and piezoelectricity of PEH. How to fabricate the PEH and what the effective method is to integrate PEHs for high power generation.

Expected Deliverables
Research report demonstrating scientific knowledge on controlling stress/strain and frequency/bandwidth of the PEH structure with representative prototypes.
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Journal publication and patent co-authored with SAIT (if agreed)

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