Systems that harvest or scavenge energy from their environments are of considerable interest for use in remote power supplies. A class of such systems exploits the motion or deformation associated with vibration, converting the mechanical energy to electrical, and storing it for later use; some of these systems use piezoelectric materials for the direct conversion of strain energy to electrical energy. The removal of mechanical energy from a vibrating structure necessarily results in damping. This research addresses the damping associated with a piezoelectric energy harvesting system that consists of a full-bridge rectifier, a filter capacitor, a switching DC-DC step-down converter, and a battery. Under conditions of harmonic forcing, the effective modal loss factor depends on: (1) the electromechanical coupling coefficient of the piezoelectric system; and (2) the ratio of the rectifier output voltage during operation to its maximum open-circuit value. When the DC-DC converter is maximizing power flow to the battery, this voltage ratio is very nearly 1/2, and the loss factor depends only on the coupling coefficient. Experiments on a base-driven piezoelectric cantilever, having a system coupling coefficient of 26%, yielded an effective loss factor for the fundamental vibration mode of 2.2%, in excellent agreement with theory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Mechanical Engineering