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Piezoelectrics are an important class of materials for mechanical energy harvesting technologies. In this paper we evaluate the piezoelectric harvesting process and define the key material properties that should be considered for effective material design and selection. Porous piezoceramics have been shown previously to display improved harvesting properties compared to their dense counterparts due to the reduction in permittivity associated with the introduction of porosity. We further this concept by considering the effect of the increased mechanical compliance of porous piezoceramics on the energy conversion efficiency and output electrical power. Finite element modelling is used to investigate the effect of porosity on relevant energy harvesting figures of merit. The increase in compliance due to porosity is shown to increase both the amount of mechanical energy transmitted into the system under stress-driven conditions, and the stress-driven figure of merit, FoM33 X, despite a reduction in the electromechanical coupling coefficient. We show the importance of understanding whether a piezoelectric energy harvester is stress- or strain-driven, and demonstrate how porosity can be used to tailor the electrical and mechanical properties of piezoceramic harvesters. Finally, we derive two new figures of merit based on the consideration of each stage in the piezoelectric harvesting process and whether the system is stress- (Fij X), or strain-driven (Fij x).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1537-1554
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Physical Journal: Special Topics
Issue number7
Early online date23 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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