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Synchronization of Cantilevers Arranged in Line of a Piezoelectric Energy Harvester

[+] Author Affiliations
Max Spornraft, Norbert Schwesinger

Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Munich, Germany

Shlomo Berger

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Paper No. SMASIS2015-8928, pp. V002T07A010; 7 pages
  • ASME 2015 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 2: Integrated System Design and Implementation; Structural Health Monitoring; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, September 21–23, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5730-4
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Synchronization opens further ways to improve cantilever-based energy harvesting arrays in view of power output, easier rectification and scaling. Objective of this study is to investigate the synchronization behavior of a cantilever-array based energy harvesting systems. Thereby, synchronization is achieved by mechanical coupling through a so-called “overhang”. Nakajima et al. [1] and Wang et al. [2] already verified this principle for the synchronization of two and three cantilevers, but at constant vibrational excitation. Regarding energy harvesting, no application of this method is presently available. In this paper, we investigate the synchronization behavior of a piezoelectric cantilever-line energy harvester in airflow. The design of the energy harvester bases upon a piezoelectric cantilever-line and a common bluff body, arranged upstream. To investigate synchronization of the cantilevers, three commonly available piezoelectric bimorphs were employed to study synchronization. Mounted on a common bluff body, the effect of overhang material and position was studied. Therefore, different constellations were examined by impulse excitation as well as vortex-induced vibration in a wind channel. In several measurements, we found arrangements and parameters allowing for an in-phase synchronization of neighborly cantilevers of the line. The knowledge gained allows for a direct electrical connection of piezoelectric cantilevers with just one single rectifier unit. Cantilevers coupled with overhangs arranged in the right order oscillate with the same frequency and phase, i.e. without any charge cancellations. This knowledge opens ways to develop basic design rules for the synchronization of cantilevers.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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