Effect of a Herringbone Mesostructure on the Electromechanical Properties of Piezofiber Composites for Energy Harvesting Applications
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Piezoelectric materials are often used in energy harvesting devices that convert the waste mechanical energy into effective electrical energy. Polymer-based piezoelectric composites appear to be promising candidates for use in these devices, as they offer a number of advantages, such as sufficient flexibility and environmental compatibility. However, a major drawback associated with these composites may be that their effective electromechanical properties are usually weaker than those of the piezoelectric constituents used in them. In this paper, we propose a class of polymeric-based piezoelectric composites with a laminated mesostructure that offer improved electromechanical properties over unidirectional piezofiber composites and can even possess stronger electromechanical properties than their piezoelectric constituents for certain modes of operation. We present examples of enhanced properties of these composites including effective piezoelectric charge and voltage coefficients, as well as effective electromechanical coupling factors for two-dimensional operation modes. We conduct an optimization to identify the optimal microstructure for the highest values of the coupling coefficients within this class of composites. Our findings demonstrate the potential in designing piezoelectric composites with a hierarchical structure to achieve significantly amplified electromechanical properties for energy harvesting applications.