Modeling of a Piezoelectric Beam for Voltage Generation

A. Nechivute and A.R. Akande (Botswana)


Modeling, voltage generation, energy harvesting, and piezoelectric


Piezoelectric materials (PZT) have the ability to convert mechanical forces into an electric field in response to the application of mechanical stresses or vice versa. This novel property of the materials has found applications in sensor and actuator technologies. The study presented in this paper targets the modeling of a PZT beam device for voltage generation by transforming ambient vibrations into usable electrical energy. This device can potentially replace the battery that supplies the power in a microwatt range necessary for operating some wireless sensor devices. While the feasibility of this application has been repeatedly demonstrated in the literature, but real working devices are partially successful because of the complex mathematical challenges involved in modeling the operation of such devices. This paper presents a simple theoretical model of voltage generation based on simple classical beam analysis. Experimental investigations were carried out and it was demonstrated that the model was able to predict the voltage generated by PZT on a vibrating beam to within less 22%. The energy harvesting capabilities of the beam device was also experimentally investigated.

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