Conventional Thermoacoustic-Piezoelectric (TAP) energy harvesters convert thermal energy, such as solar or waste heat energy, directly into electrical energy without the need for any moving components. The input thermal energy generates a steep temperature gradient along a porous medium. At a critical threshold of the temperature gradient, self-sustained acoustic waves are developed inside an acoustic resonator. The associated pressure fluctuations impinge on a piezoelectric diaphragm, placed at the end of the resonator. The reverse phenomenon results in piezo-driven thermoacoustic refrigerators (PDTARs). A pressure wave driven by a piezo-speaker induces a temperature gradient across the porous body. In this study, the TAP harvester and the PDTAR are coupled with auxiliary elastic structures in the form of simple spring-mass systems to enhance their performance. The proposed addition is referred to as a dynamic magnifier and has been shown in different areas to amplify significantly the deflection of vibrating structures. A comprehensive model of the dynamically magnified thermoacoustic-piezoelectric (DMTAP) system has been developed earlier that includes equations of motions of the system’s mechanical components, the harvested voltage, the mechanical impedance of the coupled structure at the resonator end as well as the equations necessary to compute the self-excited frequencies of oscillations inside the acoustic resonator. Theoretical results confirmed significant amplification of the harvested power is feasible if the magnifier’s parameters are properly chosen. The performance of experimental prototypes of a DMTAP harvester and a PDTAR with a dynamic magnifier are examined here. The obtained experimental findings are validated against the theoretical results. Dynamic magnifiers serve as a novel approach to enhance the effectiveness of thermoacoustic energy harvesting and refrigeration.
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Experimental Investigation of Thermoacoustic-Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters and Refrigerators With Dynamic Magnifiers
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Nouh, M, Aldraihem, O, & Baz, A. "Experimental Investigation of Thermoacoustic-Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters and Refrigerators With Dynamic Magnifiers." Proceedings of the ASME 2013 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems. Volume 2: Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Structural Health Monitoring; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting. Snowbird, Utah, USA. September 16–18, 2013. V002T07A002. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SMASIS2013-3030
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