A multifunctional compliant structure is proposed that can harvest electrical power from both incident sunlight and ambient mechanical energy including wind flow or vibration. The proposed energy harvesting device consists of a slender, ribbon-like, flexible thin film solar cell that is laminated with piezoelectric patches at either ends and mounted in the cross flow of wind in a clamped-clamped end condition with an adjustable axial preload. Taking this motivation forward a system model of the energy harvester is developed which captures the structural response of the solar ribbon and couples it with Theodorsen unsteady aerodynamics to predict the flutter boundary conditions as a function of applied axial preload tension. The model also accounts for geometric and material discontinuities, by effective use of Transfer Matrix Method (TMM) modeling technique both in bending and torsional degrees of freedom. This paper also derives TMM technique for torsional vibrations with an applied axial load from first principles, verifies the method and presents its applicability for the proposed energy harvester. The paper also points out that the flutter instability arises out of different structural modes at different values applied axial tension, with the help of a sample modal convergence plot. The analysis also presents the possibility to tune the solar ribbon to operate at an optimal reduced frequency by adjusting the applied axial preload.
Punnag Chatterjee and Matthew Bryant, "Aeroelastic modelling of a Piezo-solar tensioned energy harvesting ribbon," Proc. SPIE 9799, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2016, 979914 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 23, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2222109.
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