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Small-Scale Power Generation and Storage Using Piezoelectric Films

[+] Author Affiliations
Theodore Hatch, John Styrvoky, Jared Barton, Hualiang Zhang, Gayatri Mehta

University of North Texas, Denton, TX

Sandra Boetcher

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL

Paper No. IMECE2011-64649, pp. 211-217; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 4: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; Combustion Science and Engineering; Nanoengineering for Energy, Parts A and B
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5490-7
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Piezoelectric materials have many applications including sensors, actuators, and motors. However, the ability of piezoelectric films to generate electricity from wind power has only recently been advanced. Piezoelectric films harvest wind energy by means of a layer of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) that upon deformation generates an internal electrical voltage across two silver-ink electrodes. These films are allowed to freely flap in an airflow to cause deformation and thus electricity generation. A single small film (4.14 cm (1.63 in) × 1.63 cm (0.64 in) × 0.15 cm (0.06 in)) is tested at various wind speeds. The output of the film may be enhanced with the addition of a bluff body (in this case, a cylinder) upstream from the film. The vortex shedding from the cylinder produces a wake that can enhance the vibrations of the piezoelectric device, which in turn optimize voltage and/or power output. Voltage and power output is recorded across varying load resistances. The method of storing useful energy from the piezoelectric films is also of particular interest. Preliminary experiments using a LTC3588-1 energy harvester to various configurations of supercapacitors and Li-ion batteries are conducted. The LTC3588-1 is comprised of an efficient rectifier with a buck converter to allow the chip to efficiently charge the super capacitor while only requiring a small input to begin charging.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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