Development and Finite Element Analysis of Piezoelectric-Based Prototypes for Harvesting Energy from Roadway Pavement
Energy harvesting is a process that captures unused ambient energy such as heat, vibration, stress or movement that would otherwise be lost. Highway pavements infrastructure exposed to energy-potential resources from vehicle vibrations and traffic loading strains that could be harvested. Piezoelectric transducers (PZT) are potential materials for harvesting energy from pavements as they convert mechanical loading strains into electric voltage. For this purpose, this study is aimed to evaluate two types of piezoelectric prototypes integrated within asphalt mix; cylindrical disks and thin film sheet, suitable for compression and bending state of stresses, respectively. Finite element (FE) analysis was conducted to simulate prototype response in different geometry under dynamic loading. The evaluation of the prototype involves laboratory testing of their power output as a function of stress, and FE simulation of their mechanical behavior. Results suggested that power output is highly dependent on loading frequency and magnitude and PZT geometry but could be promising in powering low-watt LED traffic lights and wireless sensors embedded in pavement particularly in remote areas.
Funding for this study was provided by the Texas Department of Transportation.
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