Benchmark analysis of piezoelectric bimorph energy harvesters composed of laminated composite beam substrates
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This paper is concerned with the derivation of exact solutions for the responses of piezoelectric bimorph energy harvesters composed of laminated composite beam substrates. An electro-elastic finite element model is also developed based on the layer wise first order shear deformation theory for computing the responses of the bimorphs under general boundary and loading conditions. Both series and parallel connections of the piezoelectric layers of the bimorphs are considered. The responses computed by the finite element model excellently match with that obtained by the exact solutions. The induced electric potential in case of the bimorph in which the piezoelectric layers are connected in series is significantly larger than that in case of the bimorph with piezoelectric layers connected in parallel. If the thickness of the piezoelectric layers and the substrate remain same, the piezoelectric bimorph composed of antisymmetric angle-ply substrate beam is capable of inducing more electric potential than the bimorphs with cross-ply substrate beams. Also, if the bimorph is cantilever, it induces significantly more electric potential than when it is simply supported. Optimum thickness of the piezoelectric layers of the bimorph and unimorph harvesters has been determined. Most importantly, it is found that the bimorph with its piezoelectric layers connected in series performs significantly better than the unimorph if the mass and volume of the piezoelectric layers and the substrates remain same. The results presented here may serve as the benchmark results for verifying experimental and numerical models.
KeywordsEnergy harvester Smart materials Smart structures Exact solutions Bimorph
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