Harvesting wind energy using a galloping piezoelectric beam
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Galloping of structures such as transmission lines and bridges is a classical aeroelastic instability that has been considered as harmful and destructive. However, there exists potential to harness useful energy from this phenomenon. The study presented in this paper focuses on harvesting wind energy that is being transferred to a galloping beam. The beam has a rigid prismatic tip body. Triangular and D-section are the two kinds of cross section of the tip body that are studied, developed and tested. Piezoelectric sheets are bonded on the top and bottom surface of elastic portion of the beam. During galloping, vibrational motion is input to the system due to aerodynamic forces acting on the tip body. This motion is converted into electrical energy by the piezoelectric (PZT) sheets. A potential application for this device is to power wireless sensor networks on outdoor structures such as bridges and buildings. The relative importance of various parameters of the system such as wind speed, material properties of the beam, electrical load, beam natural frequency and aerodynamic geometry of the tip body is discussed. A model is developed to predict the dynamic response, voltage and power results. Experimental investigations are performed on a representative device in order to verify the accuracy of the model as well as to study the feasibility of the device. A maximum output power of 1.14 mW was measured at a wind velocity of 10.5 mph.