A novel bistable energy harvesting concept

Gennaro Scarselli, Francesco Nicassio, Fulvio Pinto, Francesco Ciampa, Onorio Iervolino, Michele Meo

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47 Citations (SciVal)
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Bistable energy harvesting has become a major field of research due to some unique features for converting mechanical energy into electrical power. When properly loaded, bistable structures snap-through from one stable configuration to another, causing large strains and consequently power generation. Moreover, bistable structures can harvest energy across a broad-frequency bandwidth due to their nonlinear characteristics. Despite the fact that snap-through may be triggered regardless of the form or frequency of exciting vibration, the external force must reach a specific snap-through activation threshold value to trigger the transition from one stable state to another. This aspect is a limiting factor for realistic vibration energy harvesting application with bistable devices. This paper presents a novel power harvesting concept for bistable composites based on a 'lever effect' aimed at minimising the activation force to cause the snap through by choosing properly the bistable structures' constraints. The concept was demonstrated with the help of numerical simulation and experimental testing. The results showed that the actuation force is one order of magnitude smaller (3%–6%) than the activation force of conventionally constrained bistable devices. In addition, it was shown that the output voltage was higher than the conventional configuration, leading to a significant increase in power generation. This novel concept could lead to a new generation of more efficient bistable energy harvesters for realistic vibration environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number055001
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016


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