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Proceedings Paper

Experimental characterisation of macro fibre composites and monolithic piezoelectric transducers for strain energy harvesting
Author(s): Michele Pozzi; Alfredo Canziani; Isidro Durazo-Cardenas; Meiling Zhu
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Paper Abstract

μCompact and lightweight energy harvesters are needed to power wireless sensor nodes (WSNs). WSNs can provide health monitoring of aircraft structures, improving safety and reducing costs by enabling predictive maintenance. A simple solution, which meets the requirements for lightness and compactness, is represented by piezoelectric generators fixed to the surface of the wing (i.e. the wing skin). Such piezoelectric patches can harvest the strain energy available when the wing is flexed, as occurs, for example, in the presence of gust loading. For this study, monolithic piezoelectric sheets and macro fibre composite (MFC) generators were fixed to plates made of two materials commonly used for aircraft wing skin: Al-2024 aluminium alloy and an epoxy-carbon fibre composite. The plates then underwent harmonically varying loading in a tensile testing machine. The power generation of the harvesters was measured at a selection of strain levels and excitation frequencies, across a range of electrical loads. The optimal electrical load, yielding maximum power extraction, was identified for each working condition. The generated power increases quadratically with the strain and linearly with the frequency. The optimal electrical load decreases with increasing frequency and is only marginally dependent on strain. Absolute values of generated power were highest with the MFC, reaching 12mW (330μW/cm2) under 1170μstrain peak-to-peak excitation at 10Hz with a 66kΩ load. Power generation densities of 600μW/cm2 were achieved under 940μstrain with the monolithic transducers at 10Hz. It is found that MFCs have a lower power density than monolithic transducers, but, being more resilient, could be a more reliable choice. The power generated and the voltage outputs are appropriate for the intended application.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 April 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8348, Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2012, 834832 (19 April 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.917094
Show Author Affiliations
Michele Pozzi, Cranfield Univ. (United Kingdom)
Alfredo Canziani, Cranfield Univ. (United Kingdom)
Isidro Durazo-Cardenas, Cranfield Univ. (United Kingdom)
Meiling Zhu, Cranfield Univ. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8348:
Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2012
Tribikram Kundu, Editor(s)

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