This paper addresses an issue in energy harvesting that has plagued the potential use of harvesting through the piezoelectric effect at the micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) scale. Effective energy harvesting devices typically consist of a cantilever beam substrate coated with a thin layer of piezoceramic material and fixed with a tip mass tuned to resonant at the dominant frequency of the ambient vibration. The fundamental natural frequency of a beam increases as its length decreases, so that at the MEMS scale the resonance condition occurs orders of magnitude higher than ambient vibration frequencies, rendering the harvester ineffective. Here, we propose a new geometry for MEMS scale cantilever harvesters with low fundamental frequencies. A “zigzag” geometry is proposed, modeled, and solved to show that such a structure would be able to vibrate near resonance at the MEMS scale. An analytical solution is presented and verified against Rayleigh’s method and is validated against a macroscale experiment. The analysis is used to provide design guidelines and parametric studies for constructing an effective MEMS scale energy harvesting device in the frequency range common to low frequency ambient vibrations, removing a current barrier.
Analytical Modeling and Experimental Verification of the Vibrations of the Zigzag Microstructure for Energy Harvesting
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Karami, M. A., and Inman, D. J. (December 8, 2010). "Analytical Modeling and Experimental Verification of the Vibrations of the Zigzag Microstructure for Energy Harvesting." ASME. J. Vib. Acoust. February 2011; 133(1): 011002. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4002783
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