Impulsive energies are abundant throughout the natural and built environments, for instance as stimulated by wind gusts, foot-steps, or vehicle-road interactions. In the interest of maximizing the sustainability of society's technological developments, one idea is to capture these high-amplitude and abrupt energies and convert them into usable electrical power such as for sensors which otherwise rely on less sustainable power supplies. In this spirit, the considerable sensitivity to impulse-type events previously uncovered for bistable oscillators has motivated recent experimental and numerical studies on the power generation performance of bistable vibration energy harvesters. To lead to an effective and efficient predictive tool and design guide, this research develops a new analytical approach to estimate the electroelastic response and power generation of a bistable energy harvester when excited by an impulse. Comparison with values determined by direct simulation of the governing equations shows that the analytically predicted net converted energies are very accurate for a wide range of impulse strengths. Extensive experimental investigations are undertaken to validate the analytical approach and it is seen that the predicted estimates of the impulsive energy conversion are in excellent agreement with the measurements, and the detailed structural dynamics are correctly reproduced. As a result, the analytical approach represents a significant leap forward in the understanding of how to effectively leverage bistable structures as energy harvesting devices and introduces new means to elucidate the transient and far-from-equilibrium dynamics of nonlinear systems more generally.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Mechanical Engineering