Research Papers

Reduced Model and Application of Inflating Circular Diaphragm Dielectric Elastomer Generators for Wave Energy Harvesting

[+] Author and Article Information
Rocco Vertechy

TeCIP Institute,
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna,
Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33,
Pisa 5612, Italy
e-mail: r.vertechy@sssup.it

Gastone Pietro Papini Rosati

TeCIP Institute,
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna,
Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33,
Pisa 5612, Italy
e-mail: g.rosatipapini@sssup.it

Marco Fontana

TeCIP Institute,
Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna,
Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33,
Pisa 5612, Italy
e-mail: m.fontana@sssup.it

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Technical Committee on Vibration and Sound of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF VIBRATION AND ACOUSTICS. Manuscript received April 14, 2014; final manuscript received September 3, 2014; published online November 12, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Ryan L Harne.

J. Vib. Acoust 137(1), 011004 (Feb 01, 2015) (9 pages) Paper No: VIB-14-1135; doi: 10.1115/1.4028508 History: Received April 14, 2014; Revised September 03, 2014; Online November 12, 2014

Dielectric elastomers (DE) are incompressible rubberlike solids whose electrical and structural responses are highly nonlinear and strongly coupled. Thanks to their coupled electromechanical response, intrinsic lightness, easy manufacturability, and low-cost, DEs are perfectly suited for the development of novel solid-state polymeric energy conversion units with capacitive nature and high-voltage operation, which are more resilient, lightweight, integrated, economic, and disposable than traditional generators based on conventional electromagnetic technology. Inflated circular diaphragm dielectric elastomer generators (ICD-DEG) are a special embodiment of polymeric transducer that can be used to convert pneumatic energy into usable electricity. Potential application of ICD-DEG is as power take-off system for wave energy converters (WEC) based on the oscillating water column (OWC) principle. This paper presents a reduced, yet accurate, dynamic model for ICD-DEG that features one kinematic degree of freedom and which accounts for DE visco-elasticity. The model is computationally simple and can be easily integrated into existing wave-to-wire models of OWCs to be used for fast analysis and real-time applications. For demonstration purposes, integration of the considered ICD-DEG model with a lumped-parameter hydrodynamic model of a realistic OWC is also presented along with a simulation case study.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

ICD-DEG: (a) ICD-DEG undeformed state, (b) ICD-DEG prestretched state with no differential pressure and electric potential, (c) ICD-DEG deformed state with differential pressure and/or electric potential, and (d) infinitesimal ICD-DEG element

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Fig. 3

Visco-elastic model for the mechanical response of DE: Zener model with two hyperelastic networks and one dashpot

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Fig. 4

Representation of the considered energy harvesting cycle in the stretch/electric-field plane

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Fig. 7

Energy harvested per cycle by the poly-OWC with ICD-DEG power take-off as function of ICD-DEG initial tip height h0 and prestretch λp. Different plots are for the same ICD-DEG thickness t (measured at h = 0), but for different sea-state conditions.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Energy harvested per cycle by the poly-OWC with ICD-DEG power take-off as function of ICD-DEG initial tip height h0 and prestretch λp. Different plots are for different ICD-DEG thicknesses t (measured at h = 0).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Comparison between FEA and reduced models of the electro-visco-hyperelastic dynamic response of the ICD-DEG: tip displacement h versus time τ



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