Nonlinear dynamics and performance enhancement of asymmetric potential bistable energy harvesters

Wei Wang, Junyi Cao, Chris R. Bowen, Ying Zhang, Jing Lin

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42 Citations (SciVal)
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Bistable system exhibiting complex dynamic behavior has been viewed as an efficient method to overcome the issue of linear energy harvester only performing well near the resonant frequency. Moreover, performance enhancement strategies of bistable energy harvesters have been extensively discussed mainly for systems with perfectly symmetric potentials. Due to the presence of imperfections as a result of non-uniform manufacturing of the harvesters, eccentricity of the buckling or magnetic force and uneven gravity, the dynamic characteristics and performance enhancement of asymmetric potential energy harvesting remain an open issue. Therefore, this paper investigates the influence mechanism and performance enhancement of a cantilever-based bistable energy harvesting system with asymmetric potentials. Bifurcation diagrams of the dimensionless electromechanical equations are employed to discover the effect of asymmetric potentials on the output response. Based on the numerical results, a performance enhancement method is proposed by compensating the asymmetric potentials with an appropriate bias of the system to decrease the negative impact of asymmetric potentials on bistable energy harvesting. The optimum bias angle is derived and numerical simulations under constant and sweep frequency excitations demonstrate that the performance of the asymmetric potential bistable energy harvesters is enhanced in a certain bias angle range around the optimum value. Two bistable energy harvesters with different asymmetric potential energy functions are investigated in the experiments and results verify the effectiveness of the proposed method for improving the energy harvesting performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1194
Number of pages12
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number2
Early online date21 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Asymmetric potential
  • Bistable
  • Energy harvesting
  • Nonlinear dynamics
  • Performance enhancement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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