Next generation wind energy harvesting to power bridge health monitoring systems
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The research reported in this thesis is part of a project to develop a remote wireless sensing network for monitoring the health of highway bridges. Remote health monitoring that does not require direct human observation has many advantages in terms of cost and increased productivity. However, bridges that cannot be easily connected to the power grid require alternative means of acquiring power. This thesis describes the design of a wind energy harvester to power a particular component in the sensor network, the wireless router. The work discussed in this thesis provides a review of relevant literature and development of a detailed analytical modeling of wind turbine behavior. The analytical model provides key information on sizing generators and choosing appropriate wind turbine dimensions to provide the required amount of power. The analytical model also distinguishes the performance of vertical and horizontal axis wind turbines. The model is verified through design and testing of a first generation prototype and benchmarking of a commercially available turbine. Based on these results, the design of the next generation wind harvesting system is described. A new methodology to design non-destructive attachment systems is also discussed.