Low-power requirements of contemporary sensing technology attract research on alternate power sources that can replace batteries. Energy harvesters absorb ambient energy and function as power sources for sensors and other low-power devices. Piezoelectric bimorphs have been demonstrating the preeminence in converting the mechanical energy in ambient vibrations into electrical energy. Improving the performance of these harvesters is pivotal as the energy in ambient vibrations is innately low. In this paper, we focus on enhancing the performance of piezoelectric harvesters through a multilayer and, in particular, a multistep configuration. Partial coverage of piezoelectric material in steps along the length of a cantilever beam results in a multistep piezoelectric energy harvester. We also discuss obtaining an approximate deformation curve for the beam with multiple steps in a computationally efficient manner. We find that the power generated by a multistep beam is almost 90% more than that by a multilayer harvester made out of the same volume of polyvinylidinefluoride (PVDF), further corroborated experimentally. Improvements observed in the power generated prove to be a boon for weakly coupled low profile piezoelectric materials. Thus, in spite of the weak piezoelectric coupling observed in PVDF, its energy harvesting capability can be improved significantly using it in a multistep piezoelectric beam configuration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering