8 April 2008 Feasibility of energy harvesting for powering wireless sensors in transportation infrastructure applications
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In recent years, wireless sensors technologies are attracted many researchers in the field of structural health monitoring (SHM) of civil, mechanical and aerospace systems. Another potential application of wireless sensors is in the Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration (VII) which is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve road safety and reduce congestion, through as part of its Intelligent Transportation System program. However, fundamental issues remain unresolved before a broad application of the wireless SHM or VII sensor network concept is the question of sustainable power source for each independent sensor mounted on infrastructures. With a vast number of sensors nodes/networks in the infrastructure, connecting them to the grid power source is simply uneconomical in the era of wireless technology. The other option, which is providing power to each sensor from battery sources, has its own setbacks, as batteries can only provide power for a limited period, have to be replaced periodically (often difficult and costly), and their disposal creates environmental hazard. This study addresses the feasibility of energy harvesting from the ambient vibration of transportation infrastructures to power wireless sensors. Based on the vibration responses from simulation and field tests, vehicle induced vibrations on bridge and pavement were obtained and the theoretical power output from such vibration sources were computed. The expected results from this study will be demonstrated by avoiding complex wiring to the sensors by which the associated cost of wiring and batteries will be significantly reduced, and at the same time the technology can easily be deployed, meaning it is one step forward in improving the SHM and VII applications.
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Demeke Beyene Ashebo, Demeke Beyene Ashebo, Chin An Tan, Chin An Tan, Jun Wang, Jun Wang, Gang Li, Gang Li, "Feasibility of energy harvesting for powering wireless sensors in transportation infrastructure applications", Proc. SPIE 6934, Nondestructive Characterization for Composite Materials, Aerospace Engineering, Civil Infrastructure, and Homeland Security 2008, 69340Y (8 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.777866; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.777866

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