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HARVESTING ENERGY FROM TIME-LIMITED HARMONIC VIBRATIONS: MECHANICAL CONSIDERATIONS

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael Brennan

Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica, UNESP, Ilha Solteira, 15385-000, São Paulo, Brasil
mjbrennan0@btinternet.com

Gianluca Gatti

Department of Mechanical, Energy and Management Engineering, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende (CS) 87036, Italy
gianluca.gatti@unical.it

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036867 History: Received June 30, 2016; Revised April 29, 2017

Abstract

Single-degree-of-freedom mechanical oscillators have been the most common type of generators used to harvest energy from mechanical vibrations. When the excitation is harmonic, optimal performance is achieved when the device is tuned so they operate at resonance. In this case, the harvested energy is inversely proportional to the damping in the system, which is sought to be very low. However, very low damping means that there is a relatively long transient in the harvester response, both at the beginning and at the end of the excitation, which can affect the harvesting performance considerably. This paper presents an investigation into the mechanical design of a linear resonant harvester to scavenge energy from time-limited harmonic excitations to determine an upper bound on the energy that can be harvested. It is shown when the product of the number of excitation cycles and the harvester damping ratio is greater (less) than about 0.19 then more (less) energy can be harvested from the forced phase of vibration than from the free phase of vibration at the end of the period of excitation. The analytical expressions developed are validated numerically on a simple example and on a more practical example involving the harvesting of energy from trackside vibrations due to the passage of a train.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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