DOI: 10.1115/1.2890402 ISSN:

A Distributed Parameter Electromechanical Model for Cantilevered Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters

A. Erturk, D. J. Inman
  • General Engineering

Cantilevered beams with piezoceramic layers have been frequently used as piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters in the past five years. The literature includes several single degree-of-freedom models, a few approximate distributed parameter models and even some incorrect approaches for predicting the electromechanical behavior of these harvesters. In this paper, we present the exact analytical solution of a cantilevered piezoelectric energy harvester with Euler–Bernoulli beam assumptions. The excitation of the harvester is assumed to be due to its base motion in the form of translation in the transverse direction with small rotation, and it is not restricted to be harmonic in time. The resulting expressions for the coupled mechanical response and the electrical outputs are then reduced for the particular case of harmonic behavior in time and closed-form exact expressions are obtained. Simple expressions for the coupled mechanical response, voltage, current, and power outputs are also presented for excitations around the modal frequencies. Finally, the model proposed is used in a parametric case study for a unimorph harvester, and important characteristics of the coupled distributed parameter system, such as short circuit and open circuit behaviors, are investigated in detail. Modal electromechanical coupling and dependence of the electrical outputs on the locations of the electrodes are also discussed with examples.

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