Most of the ambient energy, which was regarded useless in the past, now is under the spotlight. With the rapid developments on low power electronics, future personal mobile devices and remote sensing systems might become self-powered by scavenging energy in different forms from their surroundings. Kinetic energy is one of the promising energy forms in our living environment, e.g., human motions and vibrations. We have proposed an energy flow to clarify the functions of piezoelectric energy harvesting, dissipation, and their effects on the structural damping of vibrating structures. Impedance modeling and analysis were performed. We have designed an improved self-powered switching interface for piezoelectric energy harvesting circuits. With electromagnetic transduction, we also proposed a knee-mounted energy harvester that could convert the mechanical power from knee joints into electricity during walking. On the other hand, we have developed magnetorheological (MR) fluid devices with multiple functions, including rotary actuators and linear dampers. Multifunctional rotary actuator was designed to integrate motor/generator part and MR fluids into a single device. The actuator could function as motor, generator, clutch and brake, with compact size and good energy efficiency. In addition, novel self-sensing MR dampers with power generation, so as to integrate the dynamic sensing, controllable damping and power generation functions, were developed and investigated. Prototypes were fabricated and tested. The developed actuators were promising for various applications. In this paper, related research in energy harvesting done at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and key results will be presented.
Wei-Hsin Liao, "Research and development of energy harvesting from vibrations and human motions (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10172, A Tribute Conference Honoring Daniel Inman, 101720H (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 29, 2017; Published: 11 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2260411.5427850862001.
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