Piezoelectric materials have significant potential for mechanical harvesting and have an important influence in determining the power output. While the energy harvesting figure of merit (FoM ij) is frequently used to evaluate the performance of an energy harvesting material, inconsistencies between the FoM ij and power output makes material design and selection complex. To address this challenge, this paper establishes a new comprehensive energy flow model to assess the influence of the mechanical, piezoelectric and dielectric properties of a material on the complete harvesting process. The model is experimentally verified via detailed experimental evaluation at a range of excitation conditions, with piezoelectric materials fabricated to yield contrasting properties. The comprehensive model provides powerful capabilities to enable (i) analysis of the influence of material modification on energy flow, (ii) precise quantification of the dependence of power output on material properties and (iii) prediction of the power output of a harvester, where the energy flow model significantly reduces the maximum error between predicted and measured output power by ∼70%. This work therefore provides a new holistic approach to fill the knowledge gap in understanding the relationships between material properties and harvesting performance to inform future research in material design, selection and modification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101396
JournalMaterials Today Energy
Early online date25 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Li acknowledges support from NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership [NE/S007504/1] and EMD Electro-Mechanical Developments Ltd. Roscow acknowledges financial support from EPSRC (EP/V011332/1). Bowen acknowledges support on UKRI Frontier Research Guarantee on “Processing of Smart Porous Electro-Ceramic Transducers - ProSPECT”, project No. EP/X023265/1. For the purpose of open access, the authors have applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence [where permitted by UKRI, ‘Open Government Licence’ or ‘Creative Commons Attribution No-derivatives (CC-BY-ND) licence may be stated instead] to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.


  • Energy harvesting
  • Figure of merit
  • PZT ceramics
  • Piezoelectrics
  • Power generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)


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